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Enterprise IM Won't Miss AOL, Yahoo

But if you're an IM software maker, AOL and Yahoo pulling out is like Ed McMahon knocking at your door with a big cardboard check. Enterprise IM is a growing business--albeit one with too many competitors. After so many vendors jumped into the market in 2002, a shakeout was inevitable. Yet Jabber, IBM, Novell, Sun Microsystems and WiredRed are all making money with IM products.

There's evidence to suggest the AOL and Yahoo products didn't have the right features for enterprise deployment. Yahoo's offering, for example, is a hosted service, which most enterprises consider a security risk. AOL and Yahoo tried to re-engineer consumer IM systems for the business market, but enterprises weren't buying the makeovers. As most companies know, enterprise systems must be architected from the ground up.

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