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Mobile Instant Messaging? Not mentioned in Microsoft study...

Why so shy?

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Microsoft has a software platform called Windows Mobile, which includes - free - an Instant Messenger client for MSN or Windows messenger. Microsoft has a research study out on IM. Mobile? Doesn't get a mention. Why so shy?

This research was conducted by Vanson Bourne amongst 800 Information Workers in the UK, on behalf of Microsoft's Unified Communications Group - and it suggests, unsurprisingly, that more business IT strategies should include IM. But the advantages of IM on a mobile platform seem to have eluded Vanson Bourne.

"Business and IT decision makers need to seriously consider incorporating IM technology into their IT strategy," said the official release, quoting Neil Laver, Head of Sales and Marketing, Unified Communications Group at Microsoft UK. Official sanction, he says, would "ensure their enterprises, irrespective of size, benefit from the increased productivity it brings," he concluded. "Corporate IM tools allow businesses to do this in a secure and manageable way ensuring their employees using it adhere to company policy compliance."

The research shows that the stable door is open, and the horse has bolted. Business use is flourishing: "Instant Messaging technology has become a vital communication and productivity tool for Information Workers across businesses in the UK with 50 per cent of employees using IM at work." But the software is not official; individual workers are installing it on their own PCs.

"People are primarily using IM to communicate with colleagues with 58 per cent using IM to communicate with colleagues in the same office and as many as 74 per cent communicating with their colleagues based in other offices," opines the writer of the report, adding: "An overwhelming 70 per cent of IM users believe the technology facilitates quick decision making therefore saving them, and their employers, time which is undoubtedly a key driver for its use across UK businesses of all sizes today."

Is it insecure? You bet it is: "Corporate IM tools allow businesses to do this in a secure and manageable way" - that's another way of saying that without the use of these corporate tools, these are consumer applications, written in the innocent days before Sarbanes-Oxley, and with no audit trail.

Is this also true of the IM client on a Windows mobile phone? Well, yes. Is that why the report fails to mention it? Well, duh...

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