Reuters is to provide users of its instant messaging (IM) service with online connectivity to Microsoft's Messenger network.
Under the deal, Reuters will develop a new version of its messaging system that will allow its 50,000 IM users - all of which are in the financial services industry - to interact with users of Microsoft's network, which currently has 100 million members.
Scheduled for launch in Q1 2004, Reuter's new IM service will provide secure access to Microsoft's Messenger network via the MSN Messenger Connect for Enterprises system, which will be supplied by Boston-based IMLogic.
Microsoft says MSN Messenger Connect for Enterprises allows firms to add logging, auditing and identity-management features to instant messaging sessions conducted on its network.
Blake Irving, corporate vice president, MSN, says: "MSN users worldwide will have access to leading financial professionals through a world-class, end-to-end and regulatory-compliant system from Reuters."
Reuters' messaging system was developed in partnership with Microsoft and the companies have been working together for the past year to develop secure server-to-server connectivity between their respective instant messaging services.
More recently both IBM and AOL have also agreed to develop connectivity between their IM systems and Reuters'. The only major IM player not currently working with Reuters is Yahoo, although it is reported that the two companies are in negotiations and are expected announce a partnership in the future.
David Gurle, executive vice president and global head of collaboration services, Reuters, says: "Pioneered together with Microsoft, Reuters Messaging is building the global reach infrastructure to satisfy that growing need of secure and compliant communications."