Popular IM Networks

Aug 29, 2008

A blog post by one of EQO’s founders, Jeff LaPorte, claims to have insight into the market share of the instant messaging services throughout the world. The graphic (PDF) shows the strength of competing IM services in different markets throughout the world. I immediately questioned the data because it showed AOL Instant Messenger with a narrow lead over MSN and Yahoo!, who share a close second. Personally, I’ve never used either of those services, nor do I know anyone who regularly does; is that because I’m a curmudgeon or the EQO data is inaccurate? I must side with the latter.

The crux of the issue is that EQO is an instant messaging application for mobile phones running Windows CE, so the data they have is for that subset of the IM user market, not representative of the market as a whole. So what can we glean from this data? People who have Windows-based smartphones prefer MSN worldwide, save for AIM’s slight edge in the United States. What can’t we learn from the data? The state of the instant message market as a whole. EQO’s usage data ignores other smartphone users, most notably the iPhone and users who don’t have smartphones or aren’t interested in IMing from their phones.