Is Instant Messaging Near Its Demise?

Like when mobile phones were introduced in a pager-crazy world, the surge of social networking could claim its first victim: Online instant messaging.

The IM industry—bitterly fought by the likes of Yahoo! Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, and other small players—have experienced drops in usage among members. A recent UK study shows that Britons spend 5% of their online time chatting in Ims, a significant fall from 14% two years ago.

There are several reasons for the demise of IM, starting with compatibility issues. Yahoo! Messenger users cannot send messages to their friends who are using another IM service. That problem, however, can be solved by sending an SMS. Meanwhile, social networking sites have integrated messaging functions as well. This means that although IM usage decreases, messaging friends and colleagues in an instant is still done in other platforms.

Despite the decrease in market share, the number of IM accounts continue to rise. Other IM programs such as Blackberry Messenger is instrumental in users living in countries with state-controlled Internet access.

So does IM in near extinction? Don’t count on it yet.

Source: BBC, via CrunchGear

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