Microsoft and Yahoo! said last October they would make their instant messaging programs work together by June of 2006. It’s a little late, but the companies today began rolling out this feature to users on a test basis, and said a broader implementation will take place over the next few months.
Combined, the two instant messaging communities have nearly 350 million accounts, the companies said. Users must have the new Windows Live Messenger program, which came out on June 19.
This is something of a watershed moment for IM interoperability. The technology to allow IM programs to work together has been there for years, as evidenced by programs like Trillian. But for a host of reasons, the Internet giants were loathe to break down these communication barriers on their own.