Microsoft, Yahoo! Link IM Solutions

- Microsoft, Yahoo! Link IM Solutions
- Apple Abandons Its Assault on Free Speech

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- Microsoft, Yahoo! Link IM Solutions
- Apple Abandons Its Assault on Free Speech

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft, Yahoo! Link IM Solutions

On Tuesday, Microsoft announced a limited public beta test of technology that will let users of its Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger with Voice connect with one another. The competing IM products are the top two IM solutions on the market and are used by several hundreds of millions of users each day.

"This first-of-its-kind interoperability between consumer IM leaders Microsoft and Yahoo! gives our customers tremendous control, convenience, and freedom in their Web communication experiences," says Blake Irving, Microsoft's corporate vice president of the Windows Live Platform group. "We're proud to deliver this latest advancement in IM services that empower people to communicate with virtually whomever they want, wherever they want, and whenever they want."

Microsoft originally promised to link Windows Live Messenger to Yahoo! Messenger while Windows Live Messenger was in beta. Using the two tools, users will be able to exchange instant messages, determine whether friends are online, view personal status messages, use common emoticons, send offline IM messages, and add new contacts from either service. The technology that links Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger is free. The new beta program will be available in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada (in both English and French), China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States (in English and Spanish).

Apple Abandons Its Assault on Free Speech

Free-speech advocates declared victory after Apple Computer announced Tuesday that it wouldn't continue its legal attack against various bloggers for leaking information about upcoming Apple products. Apple was dealt a legal setback in the case when a court declined to decide whether bloggers were entitled to the same legal protections as "real" journalists. However, the court did rule that Apple couldn't subpoena the bloggers' email records.

After reviewing its options--and no doubt the widespread public outrage--Apple decided not to pursue an appeal of the court's verdict, effectively ending the case. Instead, the company could step up its internal investigation and attempt to find out which employees gave insider information to bloggers.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which provided legal assistance to the bloggers, also declared victory, noting that Apple's defeat reinforces the EFF's belief that corporations can't "just take a shortcut through a journalist" to find leaks. Those words echo the original ruling, which noted that Apple "failed to establish that it adequately pursued other possible means to identify the source of the information in question."

What will be interesting is how the case will affect technical journalists and the corporations they cover. Emboldened by what will no doubt be seen as a precedent-setting case, technical journalists might now feel free to publish confidential corporate information. Such a future might be hard to accept for companies such as Apple that use secrecy as a key marketing tool.

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