As the old song goes, you've got to know when to walk away, and know when to run. Yahoo!
Yep, that flies in the face of last week's move by Time Warner's
It's arguable that both companies are playing to certain strengths. Though AOL's consumer-oriented Internet service may have had its share of struggles lately, its AIM program has enjoyed deep penetration and continued popularity, which has indeed funneled its way into the corporate world.
While I recently questioned whether most at-work AIM activity is really directly related to internal functions and corporate wheeling and dealing, for AIM the numbers suggest there's reason to take the chance. (However, one thing that should be mentioned is AIM's market share did slip just a tad last August, and there's a question whether the corporate move might help alleviate that erosion.)
On the other hand, according to CNET, Yahoo!'s chief information officer said that given Yahoo!'s strength in the consumer market, it made sense to discontinue selling corporate IM.
As has been recently pointed out, the heavyweight competition in this coveted area is difficult to ignore. Besides AIM's first-mover benefits and popularity with both casual and business users, there's IBM's
While Google is a formidable rival for Yahoo! in the consumer arena, when it comes to the consumer, Yahoo!'s in its best element. (Case in point: When I wrote about Yahoo!'s answer to Gmail earlier this week, it sparked some lively emailed defenses of Yahoo! Mail's functionality. In addition, a few Foolish readers have opted to air their feelings about the new interface and storage limits on our Yahoo! discussion board, where you, too, can toss your two cents.)
Sure, there's likely a school of thought that might be concerned that Yahoo!'s missing out on an important, possibly growing niche. However, given AIM's sheer numbers and IBM's early advantage in providing communications services to corporate users, it probably makes sense for Yahoo! to focus on its strong suit and stay out of this one.
Catch up on your Yahoo! reading. Check these out if you're looking for some weekend reading:
- Relive the triumph of Yahoo!'s last quarterly earnings report.
- Read about its British VoIP initiative.
- Contemplate its recent foray into video on demand.
Time Warner has been a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick for quite some time. What other companies have made the grade? Try it for six months, risk-free.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any companies mentioned. Her messenger of choice is AIM and its running man.