Yesterday morning I twittered that I was abandoning all my previous IM systems and standardizing on Skype. It generated some interesting responses in the blogosphere, which I didn’t really expect. To me, it was a bit of a non-event. I just wanted people to know how to reach me.
In any case, I’ve now shut down both GTalk and MSN Messenger on all my PCs, leaving them with a status message which simply says “Contact me on Skype”. This after shutting down my Yahoo! Messenger and AIM accounts over a year ago.
There are perhaps three or four people I know who use these other tools to message with me anymore. The vast majority of people in my orbit (you may be different) have migrated to Skype. So why:
- go through the startup pain associated with starting a bunch of IM clients that I don’t use.
- sacrifice the memory and processor cycles on my pc to run a bunch of IM clients that I don’t use.
- gum up my system tray and start menu with a bunch of icons for IM clients that I don’t use.
You see my point, I’m sure. The other IM clients are perfectly useful. There’s nothing wrong with them. I just don’t have any need for them, anymore. My network doesn’t include folks who can’t reach me any other way as they all seem to have migrated to Skype.
Telecom operators are often held up as backward dinosaurs, especially compared to the keepers of the “open” flame in the internet community. Those telecom operators quite happily pass telephone calls and text messages from one network to another, though.
By comparison, two and a half years ago, Microsoft and Yahoo! announced that their networks would interoperate. At the time many of us called for them to deliver an open specification, delivering us from the IM Gulag that the industry has created. Today there is still no respite in sight.
Ironic isn’t it? And would Skype have been able to achieve this dominance if MSN, Yahoo, AOL et al had chosen to open their networks, treating their IM clients as virtual handsets rather than as advertising platforms?
We’ll never know.