Instant Message Pact. Buddies Now

By Exclusive Concepts Blog Team

FINALLY. We have some companies acting like grown-ups. According to the Wall St Journal, Microsoft and Yahoo will announce today a pact that allows its users of instant messaging to talk to each other. Instant Message Pact (subscription only)

In a competitive realignment of the heated Internet industry, Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. are expected to announce today that consumers using their free communications services — including instant messaging and computer-to-computer voice calling — will be able to communicate directly with each other for the first time, say people familiar with the matter.

Together, Yahoo and Microsoft will command 44% of the global instant-messaging market and can challenge AOL, the current leader in instant messaging with 56% of the market.

Matt Anderson, a Radicati analyst in Palo Alto, Calif., called a Yahoo/Microsoft tie-up in instant messaging “a big deal” and predicted it would heighten competition with AOL over consumer market share. Mr. Anderson said instant messaging is important for the Internet giants because “it’s kind of a gateway for many users to their other services.” While heavy users of instant messaging are traditionally in their teens and 20s, Mr. Anderson said the services are increasingly being used by older consumers as well.