It’s amazing to me at times in tech the tech world what’s old is now new again just in a different way. For example in the 70’s and 80’s everything was terminals and dial up modems connecting to a mainframe computer hosted at data center. Then in the 90’s Microsoft changed the industry by making servers and workstations affordable on local networks with the Windows client and server architecture. Then the industry changed again in 2007 with the release of the iPhone, broadband adoption and the cloud.
What I am trying to get at is the recent push for messaging. Back in early 2000’s messaging was all the rage as AOL, MSN, Yahoo and ICQ fought to be the instant messenger that everyone used on daily basis. Slowly over time as social media and SMS messaging got adopted instant messaging started becoming less since if you were not at your computer it really was not an instant message.
Users started making phone calls, sending SMS text messages and receiving email on their phones. At that point instant messaging started to die out. Then with the release of the iPhone and Android the cultures shifted again. Talking on the phone has become less and less the messaging war has returned. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Snapchat and Apple are the big players trying to win the messaging war with users this time around.
Google has Hangouts, Allo, and Duo all doing different things in different places to try and draw you into their messaging echo system. Google with the popularity of Gmail, Google Apps for Education and Business (now called G Suite) gets users to use Hangouts as part of Gmail. YouTube uses Google Hangouts as part of its live offerings for content creators all designed to push users into Google messaging experience.
Apple has released the latest version of iOS and macOS with a great deal of attention on their unified messaging on the phone and on the desktop. Apple unified messaging allows you to get same messages on any Apple device using your iCloud account. Apple with the huge popularity of iPhone has a good foot in the messenger market considering iMessage is default messaging app on iPhone, iPad and Mac computers.
Microsoft has pushed very hard to stay in the messaging market adding Skype by default to all Windows 10 computers and adding Skype of Office 365 on all platforms. Microsoft has a strong foothold on messaging considering they are the majority of desktops and Skype did have huge name notoriety before Microsoft even purchased them in 2011.
Facebook has a real advantage in the messaging market because of its large user base if you have Facebook account you automatically get a messenger account. Facebook has really made mobile and messaging one of their main goals and focus of their mission over the last few years. Facebook even went as far as to purchase WhatsApp in 2014 to help get a bigger hold on messaging. Facebook did try to purchase Snapchat in 2013 but the company turned down the offer.
Snapchat is a messenger app that is gaining a lot of ground and popularity with a large user base I would say you could bundle Snapchat in with the other large players on this list. I have a feeling that in time you will see them acquired by one of these larger companies. When you look at Snapchat despite gearing up to IPO its lack of social media integration maybe it’s undoing.
All five companies all have their own messenger or messengers with similar functionality of messaging, video chatting and some even have bots. It will be interesting to see as time progresses will all five companies stand on their own, will one come out the winner or will new app take over the messaging market.