IDC: IM Use is Booming in Business

The market for instant messaging software among businesses is expected to
expand considerably for another few years, thanks to new products,
word-of-mouth hype and media coverage.

That’s the latest from research firm IDC, which expects the
enterprise instant messaging (EIM) market — including instant messaging
server software and products to secure and manage information exchange — to
grow from $315 million in 2005 to $736 million in 2009.

Sales of EIM applications jumped 37 percent year-over-year in 2004.
Moreover, more than 28 million business users worldwide used enterprise
instant messaging products to send nearly 1 billion messages each day in
2005, according to IDC analyst Robert Mahowald.

This includes so-called “corporate consumers,” who use consumer instant
messaging networks, such as AOL Instant Messenger, Windows Messenger or
Yahoo Messenger, in the workplace.

“Especially in compliance-driven sectors like Wall Street, financial
services, and government, instant messaging is a critical differentiator,”
Mahowald said in a research note. “In the next few years, IDC expects
instant messaging — once the plaything of teenagers — to continue to grow
into its role as a substantial business collaboration application.”

The analyst cited a number of players who are “staking their ground,” in the
EIM market.

He noted that Microsoft’s LCS and Communicator products drove partnership
activity throughout 2004, while IBM’s Sametime and Workplace Messaging
offerings took instant messaging into larger-scale implementations.

Mahowald also credited smaller companies with influencing the market.

He said Jabber, using a combination of XMPP (Extensible Messaging and
Presence Protocol) and SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), galvanized Wall
Street buyers to discard consumer products like AIM in favor of its EIM

If the aforementioned instant messaging servers are the keys to the EIM
market, the security and management software that has emerged in
the wake of stringent federal compliance regulations is the gate. Regulations such as HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley and Sec 17A-4 require businesses to save and store
digital information.

And if it’s not compliance mandates striking fear into enterprises, it’s IM viruses.

Vendors such as FaceTime, IMLogic and Akonix have struck deals with EIM market leaders to defend against a steady increase in IM threats.

IMlogic this week warned
Internet users that the IM.Treba.AIM worm is exploiting instant messaging software on
machines running Windows. It allows a hacker to steal system info or force a
computer into a continual reboot.

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