O'Reilly Network Weekly
Open Source Roundtable
Sponsored by IBM developerWorks
The Jabber Jihad: Universal Instant Messaging
America Online has said it supports the idea of a universal protocol for open instant messaging, and some parties are asking the FTC to make this a prerequisite of approving AOL's merger with Time Warner. The company
appears to be dragging its feet, possibly to drag out its proprietary
advantage. But with workarounds like Jabber, is that a problem?
|Listen to this discussion (12:45 mins, 3.7 MB):
Technology Reporter for O'Reilly Network and Forbes ASAP
"[AOL has] every advantage in the world for not moving on this. They
have a monopoly position. They have over 90 percent of the market. You
can make the case that instant messaging is free, so what good is a
monopoly. But the AOL Instant Messenger has a little ad window on it,
which they can sell, and that's lucrative. They also steer more traffic
to their portal pages, ICQ.com and AOL.com. … And it's a classic case of
viral marketing: if you and I are both on here and a friend of ours is
going to get a chat client, they're going to want to chat with us. And
if the only way they can do that is AOL Instant Messenger, that's
probably the one they're going to pick up."
System Architect, Jabber.com
"The [Jabber] server is where the complexity is, and that was done so that it would be easy to write clients. So there are Java clients,
there's Linux, and for just about all the platforms out there. There's a Palm client in the works. We designed it so that the clients are pretty easy, and there's a plethora of clients and more every day. Depending on which server you connect with, you can connect to other services out there in the world, that would include ICQ, IRC, MSN, Yahoo, some of the major IM systems."
Managing Editor, O'Reilly Network
"I can see that, because of the peer-to-peer nature of Jabber, it would
be difficult to close down the AOL transport. One of the ways that they
could present problems for everyone would be by constantly tweaking
their server situation so that people have to constantly scramble to
update the transports … if they really wanted to play hardball."