Instant messaging is on the verge of becoming a key business communications tool to rival E-mail and the telephone. With a rash of corporate IM products having hit or getting ready to hit the market, Ferris Research predicts that the number of IM users within businesses will more than double this year--to 23 million worldwide, from 10 million at the end of last year. By 2007, Ferris says, businesses will be supporting 182 million IM users.
That growth will result in significant IM-related revenue growth, too. In a new report on IM, issued just days after Osterman Research released findings that nearly 90% of companies report IM use on their networks, Ferris estimates that the business IM market will increase nearly sevenfold by 2007, to $794 million, from $133 million last year. Among the reasons Ferris sites for IM's meteoric growth are the continuing integration of the technology into broader collaboration technologies such as Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes, as well as evolving etiquette regarding the use of IM in business settings.
There's much more uncertainty surrounding IM in the service-provider market. Ferris expects telco-provided IM to meet its fate over the next year or two. Ferris analyst Michael Sampson estimates that service providers could sign up as many as 891 million IM users by 2007, resulting in $2 billion in revenue, or that as few as 3.8 million subscribers will sign up during that time, resulting in decreasing revenue as other IM options eat into voice-call demand.
Copyright 2003 CMP Media LLC