Windows Live Messenger continues to be the most used instant messaging client worldwide, with a market share of over 40%.
Microsoft’s IM client, now at version 2011, has been stripped from the Windows platform years ago, and is now offered as a part of the Windows Live Essentials Cloud bundle of applications and services.
The closest rival to Windows Live Messenger is Yahoo! Messenger, with Google almost insignificant on the instant messaging client market, according to data from a recent report published by OPSWAT.
“Windows Live Messenger accounts for just over 40% of the installed IM applications, followed by Skype, which accounts for more than a quarter of the installations,” OPSWAT said.
With a share of 40.67%, Windows Live Messenger dominates the IM market, followed by Skype with 27.39%.
Of course, if antitrust regulators will give green light to the $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype announced earlier this year, Microsoft will dominate the IM market like no other company.
I wouldn’t venture out to say that the software giant would own approximately 70% of the instant messaging market, since I believe that the audiences of Windows Live Messenger and Skype somewhat overlap.
With 15.11% Yahoo! Messenger is in third place, followed by TENCENT QQ with 4.95%, Google Talk with 3.56%, Gadu-Gadu with 2.46%, and ICQ with 2.01%.
“Three instant messenger clients dominate the market for PC users, with over 80% combined market share. This number does not account for the market share of web-based instant messaging services such as Google Chat and Facebook, which could mean that a higher percentage of PC users than reported actively use instant messaging,” OPSWAT added.
Microsoft is currently hard at work on Windows Live Essentials vNext which will introduce the next major iteration of Windows Live Messenger.
The Redmond company has yet to confirm any details related to Windows Live Messenger vNext, but I’m willing to bet that it will be tailored to Windows 8.
Windows Live Messenger 2011 Build 15.4.3508.1109 is available for download here.