September 18, 2003 1:11 PM PDT
Trillian plugs back into Yahoo, MSN
The patches were posted Wednesday afternoon ET on Cerulean's Web site. They allow the free 0.74 and the older for-pay Pro 1.0 versions of Trillian to continue to work with Yahoo and MSN's instant messaging clients, according to company co-founder, Scott Werndorfer. Trillian Pro 2.0, the most recent version of the for-pay service, has already been upgraded, Werndorfer said.
"The patches upgrade both the MSN and Yahoo engines within Trillian to comply with the latest protocol requirements," Werndorfer wrote in an e-mail.
The patches were released shortly after Yahoo said that upgrades to its own service might shut out people using Messenger through a third-party client such as Trillian. Trillian lets people with multiple instant messaging applications--such as AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger--integrate them all onto one graphical interface.
Neither Cerulean's Werndorfer nor Yahoo commented when asked whether yesterday's software patch release was the result of negotiations between the companies, or an independent decision by Cerulean.
Instant messaging has become one of the most popular applications on the Internet, allowing people to exchange text messages in real-time between PCs. However, the largest instant messaging networks--America Online's AOL Instant Messenger and ICQ, Microsoft's MSN Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger--are proprietary and prohibit communication between one another. As a result, most instant messaging users have downloaded multiple clients to reach different contacts.
Trillian attempts to solve the lack of interoperability by letting people manage their various instant messaging accounts under one consistent user interface. All messages that enter Trillian appear the same regardless of which service is used, thus stripping away an IM client's identity.
Yahoo's move Wednesday was part of an effort to force its instant messaging users--those using Yahoo Messenger version 5.0 or older for Windows, version 2.0 or older for Macintosh and version 1.02 or older for Unix--to upgrade to its newer version. Users who do not upgrade by Sept. 24 will be shut out of the system.
Yahoo spokeswoman Mary Osako declined to comment on Trillian's recent actions, but stood by earlier comments that Yahoo remains "open and interested in talking with all parties that share our goal of opening the instant messaging community in a seamless, convenient and secure manner."
Yahoo's move harkens back to a similar decision by Microsoft to force its MSN Messenger users to upgrade their software by Oct. 15. Microsoft said it would require third parties to negotiate licensing terms and said it gave no assurances that services such as Trillan would be able to use MSN Messenger.
Both Yahoo and MSN cited the need to improve security as the primary reason for the upgrades.
Microsoft declined to comment.