Reuters group plc. is working to make connectivity between disparate enterprise instant messaging software a reality with a new IM client.
The company, by the first quarter of next year, plans to release a new version of its IM client that will link with other IM vendors networks and support group messaging and structured text messaging, the ability to send forms and graphs in IM, officials said.
Reuters isnt alone. Microsoft Corp. will announce this week that its MSN Messenger will support a third-party connectivity layer that similarly lets users of its IM service communicate with IM clients from other vendors, sources said. Microsoft officials, in Redmond, Wash., declined to comment.
Third-party IM management vendors such as IMLogic Inc. and FaceTime Communications Inc. are expected to play a role in providing connectivity among IM clients from different vendors. Officials from IMLogic and FaceTime, as well as the IM providers, declined to comment on what that role would be.
While running multiple IM clients may be standard practice for consumers, enterprises want to keep their desktops less cluttered.
Of particular interest to New York-based Reuters, which counts a large number of financial trading desks among its IM subscribers, is being able to connect large financial services companies that use its service with small portfolio management and hedge fund companies that have little IT overhead.
Francis deSouza, president and CEO of IMLogic, said the IM connectivity Reuters is planning is a "good start" toward enterprise IM interoperability. But, deSouza added, there are still business model issues to work out, such as who pays for network traffic between two IM services, which is similar to the question of who pays when customers use two telephone service providers.
"Were starting to see it solved in the enterprise market," said deSouza, in Lincoln, Mass. He declined to comment on any specific role IMLogic would play in providing that connectivity.
Reuters last week said it will test secure access between Reuters Messaging and IBMs Lotus Instant Messaging. The company earlier this month said it intends to do similar testing with America Online Inc.s AOL Instant Messenger service. Reuters plans to offer IM connectivity with MSN Messenger and Yahoo Inc.s Yahoo Messenger as well, according to spokesman Kyle Arteaga.