Yahoo Messenger does Flex

Today Yahoo! released a new Yahoo! Messenger for the Web client written using Flex. Its got a nice UI and it runs in your browser. It even shows Flash-based ads, which you may or may not consider a plus.

Ryan Stewart wrote a good writeup, and at the end he says:

One other intriguing thing about this is what it may mean for a Yahoo Messenger desktop client on the Mac. The Yahoo team put together a great Windows Presentation Foundation client for Vista, but that would be difficult to port to the Mac. This version on the other hand, because it was built with Flex, would be easy to turn into an Apollo application so it could run outside the browser on either PCs or Macs.

With all due respect to Ryan, I think he missed the point here. The WPF version of Yahoo! Messenger was a Microsoft evangelism project. Microsoft paid for some or all of its development, including the high ticket design work by Lee Brimelow and company at frog. That’s why Yahoo! didn’t promote the WPF player much on its own properties: the real client for the work was Microsoft, not Yahoo!. Is it cool? Yes. But it is not part of the mainstream product strategy for Yahoo! Messenger, because WPF’s installed base is only a small percentage of the world’s computers.

Contrast that with the new Yahoo! Messenger for the Web release, which Yahoo! is promoting heavily on its web site. Here’s a partial capture of the screen I got today when I went to http://messenger.yahoo.com on my Mac:

Yahoo Messenger for the Web promo screen

Check out the bullet points on the right of the screen: works in any browser, no download required, localized in multiple languages including Vietnamese and Portuguese (are these big IM countries? must be…). Those benefits say it all: Yahoo! isn’t doing this because Adobe outspent Microsoft on evangelism (as if!), they’re doing it because the platform offers compelling benefits to Yahoo! and its users today. Bet Microsoft wishes it could say the same…

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~ by Andrew Shebanow on 03May07.

2 Responses to “Yahoo Messenger does Flex”

  1. Hey there…

    this is a huge change for Yahoo! I wonder how Microsoft reacted to this considering the WPF project… it’s well known that everyone except Microsoft is aiming towards cross-platform but the Yahoo! use of flex on this project is kinda… weird! I’ve found at least 6 coding bugs (and reported them). My Flash 9 debugger couldn’t stop showing up… kinda annoying. Although this is a smart move from Yahoo! Maybe they should’ve waited a little more to release it buggyless… (note: I’m tested it on Mozilla Gran Paradiso 3.0a4)

    ps: I’m brazilian and there’s over 30million people using IM’s here.
    I’ve been developing in flex for almost a year now!!!

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