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I'm convinced, but that doesn't mean I'm right, that if Jabber/XMPP had strong gateways to other networks early on it would have got bigger sooner, here's why. The 'winners' in the IM battle have been the proprietary protocols, like AIM and Yahoo!, these networks attracted the largest user counts and this is where the IM 'communities' have grown. Jabber never made it in that sense, it effectively sat on the sidelines as a geek or vertical market protocol. If someone had build good gateways/bridges/transports to the popular networks, assuming that was even possible, then I believe that users/organisations would have moved onto the Jabber EIM offerings because they could bring their 'other network' buddies with them. This is borne out by a couple of things; 1) That clients like Trillion, Adium and Gaim are successful, because they allow users to connect to their buddies on public networks. 2) OpenFire (Wildfire) became one of the most popular Jabber/XMPP servers because it had working transports for MSN etc. Look at the number of solutions hanging off OpenFire since it went open source. It's fine to use multi-protocol clients in environments where business rules aren't enforced but we're increasingly seeing businesses needing content control and archiving across all forms of communications, not just email. This is great, but hard to sell when the IT guy has to tell his users that they'll have a new IM platform, but with no buddies outside of the company. It's the communities/relationships that are important not the platforms so much. Microsoft manages to make LCS/OCS stick because they have the largest community in the world.  We see this now in the discussions around IM federation and recently social network federation, but this time it's pivoting around XMPP, and I think we're all (those of us that have been pushing Jabber/XMPP for years) beginning to smile and say 'I told you so'. I think it's an exciting time, the challenge for Cleartext(me) is how to turn this new wave of enthusiasm in XMPP into innovative services and revenue, given that EIM has never really taken off as a paid for solution.

Published: October 8th 2008 at 9:54pm

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