Kik's Instant Messaging Ruckus Unleashes RIM's Legal Wrath
12/3/2010 by: Darleen Hartley
Instant messaging is essentially the text version of a phone call. Like noses, everyone has a version of IM nowadays. Regardless, RIM is suing Kik for patent infringement.
Just how different can an IM program be from any other? The upstart Kik follows many legacy applications. In 2009, InformationWeek reviewed six similar programs. The then viable IM services they reviewed were: AOL’s Instant Messenger [AIM]; Google Talk; ICQ, popular in Russia and Germany; Jabber, an open source product that came under Cisco’s wing; Yahoo Instant Messenger now called Yahoo Messenger 10 that still runs on Windows XP as well as Windows 7 or Vista; and Microsoft’s own Windows Live Messenger exclusively for Windows 7 and Vista that lets you share videos and photos. Facebook also has an IM feature.
RIM’s lawsuit claims that Kik’s user can send messages, see when the message is delivered, and when their friend has actually read the message – all in a treatment similar to the same functions in Blackberry’s Messenger. Giving credence to the claim of copy cat is the fact that Kik’s founder and CEO, Ted Livingston, was formerly an employee of RIM whom they claim had access to proprietary information. Early in 2010, Kik Chat was touting that you could chat across platforms, Blackberry to iPhone. The Kik messaging app runs not only on the Blackberry, but on Apple’s iPhone, and Google’s Android devices. Oh, did we mention Kik’s app is free? And to add insult to injury, Kik resides in the same town as RIM – Waterloo, Ontario Canada.
Originally IM apps were all geared more towards general, social networking environments. However, there are several companies focused on enterprise editions for the business environment. Many businesses are going with text-based IM over phone calls and e-mail, because it is a streamlined and immediate way to get their message across in real time – important time-saving features in today’s fast-paced world. IM is suited to quick information exchanges.
Microsoft Business has 10 tips for using IM, including a reminder that messages can be saved and archived, so be careful what you say.
Several enterprise solutions are available. Brosix promises "secure instant messaging for companies" and a free version for individual use. It works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. 24im claims to be "the smarter way to deliver enterprise-grade collaboration to your private group... with a non-corporate price tag." Symantec says its IM Manager mitigates the potential risks associated with the use of IM in the enterprise. The company has patent-pending technology for detection and protection against zero-day attacks with integrated virus scanning.
Whether you are an individual or a corporation, there are many choices if you want the features of Instant Messaging.
Kik - Choose Your Device
So where does that leave RIM and Kik? RIM is seeking an injunction to ban the use of Kik’s messaging application on its devices. Kik advertises that you can have unlimited texting to all Kik users worldwide, no matter what smartphone they have. "That’s the insanely fast, unifying power of Kik." That "no matter what smartphone" claim may have to be adjusted if RIM has its way.
But, hey, if Kik runs on Apple and Android, there’s a big enough market out there without Blackberry, which by the way looks as if it is losing ground in the marketplace anyway. Still, RIM’s 7 inch tablet, Playbook, scheduled to launch first quarter next year, may give the company some traction beyond instant messaging.
Blackberry, RIM, Apple, iPhone, Kik, IM, instant messaging, Symantec, 24im, Brosix, Mac, Linux, ICQ, Ted Livingston, Jabber, Cisco, Russia, Germany, Playbook
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