Yahoo and Microsoft are reportedly working together so that users of their proprietary instant messaging and other free internet services can talk to each other. Compatability across platforms will enable users greater freedom to use their preferred software regardless of what their friends or coworkers are using.
What it means for the larger internet industry is that these two powerhouses are going after people who are fans of AOL’s IM platform or the recently launched Google Talk. Yahoo isn’t likely to bend over backwards to make sure GTalk is compatible with the new Y/MSN integration and nobody to my mind is going to go out of their way to please AOL now that they’ve suddenly embraced the open web as a means to survive. Could those two now create their own compatible language? That depends on how much code Google is willing to share with people outside its own sandbox.