In a recent “Inside Windows Live” blog post, Microsoft has announced “public availability of access to the Messenger network via XMPP,” a step that finally brings Microsoft into the fold using eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol. For those of you who didn’t know, unlike email which has used internet standards to exchange messages between servers, instant message providers each created their own proprietary protocol for sending IMs, making it difficult or impossible for users on AIM, Yahoo, Microsoft Windows Live Messenger, and other IM services to connect with one another.
Apple initially partnered with AIM to launch iChat in 2002, but by 2004, the company had introduced a new iChat 3 version, which supports XMPP, allowing users to seamlessly connect with Google Talk. In this summer’s release of Mac OS X Lion, Apple added support for Yahoo IM, enabling the chat client to connect to the three different chat networks (AIM, Yahoo, and open Jabber/XMPP servers such as Google Talk, Facebook chat, and Apple’s own iChat server). The one service that was absent here was Microsoft’s Windows Live network, which is extremely popular in certain areas such as Europe.
The company’s move to support the open XMPP may explain why Apple didn’t originally build in support for Microsoft’s proprietary Messenger network previously. Now that Microsoft Messenger enables open XMPP access, iChat users should be able to add Messenger accounts and directly interact with Messenger users without needing to configure a gateway, use a multi-protocol chat client, or use Microsoft’s own chat application.
Apple appears to be working on adding direct IM support to iOS devices through its Messages app. That company has already released direct iPhone to iPad to iPod Touch support for iMessage, which automatically connects via XMPP when detecting a connection with an iOS client. With Microsoft adding a large number of Messenger users to the open XMPP world, Apple could very well be capable of supporting direct chat functionality with Messenger, Facebook, and Google Talk users to its iOS Messages app, seamlessly as it has added iMessage support alongside SMS/MMS.
Would something like this be a feature you’d like to see on your iOS device? Share your thoughts and opinions below!
Source: Inside Windows Live (blog)