October 9, 2003 1:06 PM PDT

Trillian connects with Yahoo yet again

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Cerulean Studios' popular Trillian instant-messaging software has released a new patch that should allow its users to regain connectivity with Yahoo Messenger, the latest move in a cat-and-mouse game between the two companies.

The patches, released Thursday according to Trillian's Web site, allow users of its free .74 version and its for-pay Pro 1.0 and Pro 2.0 versions to integrate Yahoo buddy lists into Trillian. The software does not communicate directly with other IM services but instead lets people integrate buddy lists from other services--such as AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger--into its own interface.

The patch release is significant because upgrades Yahoo made last month blocked Trillian from integrating Yahoo Messenger buddy lists. Three days later, Cerulean issued a patch for Trillian Pro 2.0 and said it would release patches for 1.0 and .74.

Scott Werndorfer, co-founder of Cerulean Studios, confirmed the patch releases but declined to comment further. Yahoo spokeswoman Mary Osako declined to comment on the patch.

Yahoo is not the only major IM provider whose recent actions have shut out Trillian. Microsoft said in August that, beginning Oct. 15, it would shut out Trillian users unless Cerulean Studios reaches a contract agreement with the software giant.

AOL, which owns AIM and ICQ, has not taken any steps to block Trillian.

Trillian has become a popular Web application because it addresses a problem facing IM users: Major IM services do not communicate with each other. Trillian acts as an umbrella for people to combine all of their buddy lists under a single interface.

IM services rely on their individuality to maintain user loyalty and to differentiate themselves from their rivals. Trillian kills an IM service's ability to serve advertisements and promotions through the IM client, cutting off a potential source of income.


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