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Old 03-07-2006, 09:22 AM
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IM Market Share

According to the latest figures from Neilsen/Netratings, AOL still has a commanding lead in the IM market.
  • AOL: 53 million
  • MSN: 27 million
  • Yahoo: 22 million
  • Google: 866,000
AOL understands the value of those subscribers, even if most of them are free AIM accounts. Having a customer connection provides value, even if that customer is using a third-party IM program. So AOL decides to protect it's subscriber base by offering developers a toolkit to create their own AIM-compatible instant messengers.

At the other end of the spectrum you have Google. Google recently opened up their Google Talk client by integrating it with Gmail as chat, complete with chat logs in the inbox and an integrated contact list. This helps them expand their subscriber base by pulling people in from Gmail. But that's not enough, so Google has also bought their way in to AOL's vast subscriber base. With their investment in AOL, Google has announced their intention to provide interoperability between AIM and Google Talk, further expanding their market reach.

Battle lines are drawn

So with AOL and Google in bed together, where does that leave MSN and Yahoo? Together. Back in October 2005 MSN and Yahoo announced their plans to connect Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Live Messenger (the new moniker for the next generation of MSN Messenger), sometime later this spring.

So let's look at how the battle lines are shaping up:
  • AOL + Google: 53.86 million
  • MSN + Yahoo: 49 million
As you can see, it's a much closer race. AOL has been losing ground as MSN and Yahoo gain, and Google is likely to see a big boost from their Gmail integration.

IM fans will win in the end, as instant messaging choices open up further. Hopefully as the IM giants open their doors to interoperability, they'll find more benefits than disadvantages, and we'll get true interoperability sooner.

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Last edited by Jeff; 03-07-2006 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 10-13-2007, 08:12 PM
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Do we have updated stats for this year Jeff?
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Old 10-16-2007, 07:24 PM
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Nielsen/Netratings didn't publish any figures for this year. They tend to run various reports based on who wants the research.

The latest IM-related report Nielsen/Netratings published was back on July 26, 2007 and dealt with the "fastest-growing instant messaging destination" (PDF) site between August 2006 and June 2007.

Here's what they found at the time:
  1. Meebo.com - grew 354%
  2. IMVU - grew 154%
  3. Google Talk - grew 149%
  4. Paltalk - grew 26%
  5. Skype - grew 20%
Of course, while the grown is significant, none of these sites have anywhere close to the IM market share of AIM, MSN, or Yahoo. And the Big Three have likely also experienced growth.

Keep in mind that stats can also be made to say whatever you want; it all depends on how and what you measure. Always take them with a grain of salt (preferably from the rim of a margarita glass).
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Old 10-17-2007, 04:24 AM
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Appreciate your assistance in this matter Jeff. Thank you very much.
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Old 02-17-2010, 11:25 AM
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Updated Stats

Hello, do you have updated stats on IM market share? Thanks.
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