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It's Official: XMPP is the Winner for Instant Messaging and Presence

February 12, 2010

Perhaps this is hardly news, but it has been a very slow time coming. Back in 1999 or 2000, there was a push to try to integrate H.323 with XMPP. The challenge with doing that, as you can imagine, was that H.323 is focused on voice and video, while XMPP is focused on instant messaging and presence. Trying to glue these two technologies together is challenging at best. So, the H.323 experts group elected to let the protocols go their independent directions.

Then, in the early 2000s there was an effort in the SIP-related working groups in the IETF to, dare I say, clobber XMPP with the introduction of presence and instant messaging functionality in SIP. Like H.323, SIP was not designed to do that and, while it could be done, did it make sense? Apparently, some people felt that it did and so they forged ahead with the creation of SIMPLE, which are are hardly trivial extensions to SIP that enable instant messaging and presence. The problem is that it never took off.

Meanwhile, Jabber (the company behind XMPP) was making significant inroads in the enterprise market with XMPP. It was great: it was secure, scalable, and worked seamlessly between enterprise domains.

Google recognized the strength of XMPP and decided to adopt that protocol for its IM client rather than introduce yet another proprietary IM protocol in the market. That was a smart move.

Over the past couple of years, virtually every instant messaging provider and enterprise product manufacturer working in this space has announced support for XMPP and many have already delivered.

Cisco acquired Jabber and the service is already available from its WebEx division. Microsoft announced support in OCS. Of course, Google was already deploying XMPP with GoogleTalk. AOL adopted XMPP. Yahoo! seem to be moving in that direction. IBM Lotus Sametime supports XMPP. Most recently, Facebook announced support for XMPP.

So, with support from virtually every major network in the world, coupled with the fact that any domain owner can operate an XMPP server much like one can an email server, the winner is clear: XMPP is the standard for instant messaging and presence.

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