I've been watching this unfold at work and it's great to know it's now official. From the press release Microsoft and Yahoo! Announce Landmark Interoperability Agreement to Connect Consumer Instant Messaging Communities Globally we learn

SUNNYVALE, Calif., and REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 12, 2005 — Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: “MSFTâ€) today announced a landmark agreement to connect users of their consumer instant messaging (IM) services on a global basis. The industry’s first interoperability agreement between two distinct leading global consumer IM providers will give MSN® Messenger and Yahoo!® Messenger users the ability to interact with each other, forming what is expected to be the largest consumer IM community in the world, estimated to be more than 275 million strong.

Being able to instant message between IM communities is one of the features most requested by MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger users, and Microsoft and Yahoo! share a commitment to provide IM interoperability while keeping consumer security and privacy first and foremost. In addition to exchanging instant messages, consumers from both communities will be able to see their friends’ online presence, share select emoticons, and easily add new contacts from either service to their friends’ list, all as part of their free IM service.* Yahoo! and Microsoft plan to introduce these interconnectivity capabilities between MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger to customers around the world in the second quarter of 2006, and in doing so expect to help make IM an even more useful part of consumers’ online communications and communities.

This is really good news and a step in the right direction with regards to interoperability across instant messaging applications. Now I have to go nag the folks across the hall about what this means for folks like me who use our "@yahoo.com" email addresses as our Messenger sign-in names. I already had to switch once from my "@microsoft.com" address when Microsoft started using Live Communication Server internally. 

I'll see what I can find out from folks when they get into work later today and report back.


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