Markit to launch Collaboration Services, a federated approach to breaking the Bloomberg stranglehold in financial services messaging

Bloomberg has had serious messaging market dominance for the traders and funds managers whose companies pay the $20,000/year for Bloomberg’s terminals and related services. But the industry has many others that do not have access to those terminals, and as a result have not been on the inside of the Bloomberg messaging network.

Today, financial data provider Markit has released a federated messaging platform that will sidestep Bloomberg and provide much wider access to the millions of workers in the financial services community. The platform is based on technology from NextPlane. Federation in this sense means that individual messaging services can interoperate based on a centralized federation server, that validates identities and transfer messages from one system to another.

Thomson Reuters is a founding customer, and is connecting its internal Eikon Messenger, with more than 200,000 financial professionals worldwide. Eight major banks, the owners of Markit, are also at work integrating their workforce’s into the system as well. The banks include The banks that have signed on are Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase  and Morgan Stanley.

Markit’s collaboration services will interoperate with XMPP (Cisco Jabber, etc), Yahoo, Skype, Facebook, Microsoft Lync, Yammer, Chatter, Twitter, IBM Sametime, Google Apps, WebEx Messenger, and OpenFire.

The solution will maintain a directory of federated identities as a “central switchboard” which will open up the financial services industry in a way that has never been done before. But administrators at each participating company will be able to determine who can participate, and what sorts of information they can share. The communication will be encrypted throughout, so only the participants will actually be able to see what is being said.

I found no mention of NSA concerns as being behind this push: it seems to be more of a reaction to recent disclosures about Bloomberg’s misuse of information found through its financial terminals, like Bloomberg journalists use of subscriber data.

Google drops open standards in new ‘Hangouts”

The war against of interoperability in web messaging solutions has never subsided, and Google’s new release of an “upgraded” Hangouts — replacing Google Talk — is only the most recent example of internet giants making unilateral moves to keep the messaging marketplace fragmented.

Google Abandons Open Standards for Instant Messaging – Electronic Frontier Foundation

In the midst of the major press blitz surrounding its annual I/O Conference, Google dropped some unfortunate news about its instant messaging plans. In several places around the web, the company is replacing the existing “Talk” platform with a new one called “Hangouts” that sharply diminishes support for the open messaging protocol known as XMPP (or sometimes informally Jabber), and also removes the option to disable the archiving of all chat communications. These changes represent a switch from open protocols to proprietary ones, and a clear step backward for many users.

The XMPP protocol supports a federated model of identity. In the earlier version of Google Talk, this meant that I could communicate through Gtalk to friends who were using other messaging servers, like,, or a long list of other XMPP compliant servers.

Google has also disabled functionality in their API (or at least not published the information as to how to access it), so that user of non-Google messaging clients cannot , for example, disable archiving of all messaging into a Gmail account. They will need to use Google’s Hangout client to disable that, and it must be done on a user-by-user basis.

I agree with the EFF that these steps are a big step backward, and that Google should overcome whatever technical challenges that motivated them, and put control of messaging history and access back into the hands of the users.

Updated: Ribbit croaks, just three years after $105m BT deal

The decision by British Telecom to buy internet telephony service Ribbit for $105m in 2008 drew out plenty of questions. Three years later the criticisms have come full circle, with news that the most visible part of the business is being shut down.

Skype adds XMPP support, IM interoperability next?

Skype quietly added some XMPP support to its most recentbeta last week. Adopting the open protocol helps Sype to integrate with Facebook, but it could also be used for interoperability with other IM platforms. Just don’t expect to call your Gtalk friends any time soon.

Facebook Pokes XMPP. MSN, Yahoo & AIM Better Watch Out

facebookchat.gifThe instant messaging world should prepare for a major quake — thanks to Facebook, which seems to be all set to launch a new connection interface that would allow Facebook Chat to work with any kind of XMPP client.
The news of this development was first reported by Mickaël Rémond on the company blog of Process One, a Paris-based messaging startup. “It now seems the launch is close as the XMPP software stack has been deployed on,” writes Rémond, who is a leading expert on instant messaging and ejabberd and is an active member of the XMPP Standard Foundation. Read More about Facebook Pokes XMPP. MSN, Yahoo & AIM Better Watch Out

Google Launches Multiplatform, In-browser Voice and Video Chat

Groundbreaking web-based email was not sufficient. Embedded instant messaging was not enough. Google Talk voice chat was too “old-fashioned.” Never satisfied with the status quo, the wizards at Google have rolled out a new Voice and Video service and have made Mac users first-class citizens for the new feature.

As with the majority of their shiny new toys, Google Voice and Video is not exactly available to everyone just yet, but when it finally is, enabling it will only require the download and installation of a small plugin and a quick selection in the “Options” link under the chat sidebar in Google Mail. Yes, that’s correct. This will be a service available within your browser.
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With Microsoft in Sight, Cisco Buys Jabber

Cisco said this morning it would buy instant messaging service Jabber for an undisclosed amount. The deal is another move by the networking company into the collaboration space — this time highlighting the importance of presence awareness and interoperability in collaboration. It follows nicely with Cisco’s buy of PostPath earlier this month, as well as its WebEx acquisition. Cisco CEO John Chambers has been pretty vocal in its desire to go after three hot markets: collaboration, virtualization and video.

From Cisco’s press release:

“Enterprise organizations want an extensible presence and messaging platform that can integrate with business process applications and easily adapt to their changing needs,” said Doug Dennerline, Cisco senior vice president, Collaboration Software Group. “With the acquisition of Jabber, we will be able to extend the reach of our current instant messaging service and expand the capabilities of our collaboration platform. Our intention is to be the interoperability benchmark in the collaboration space.”

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Mozilla Announces Mozilla Messaging with Firefox 3 Features

ThunderbirdMozilla Foundation today announced the formation of a new subsidiary group titled Mozilla Messaging.  The new group will be focused on taking Mozilla’s mail client Thunderbird to the next level of competitiveness against established mail clients, including Microsoft Outlook.  David Ascher will head the new subsidiary that is not only aimed at email, but Internet communications, as stated on in his blog post announcing the new group.

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