Betting on XMPP

Betting on XMPP

By Dave Michels July 1, 2013 4 Comments
Dave Michels JPG
Betting on XMPP by Dave Michels

I am not much of a betting man, but I recently made a wager. I got caught-up in a conversation with some other analysts about Google’s bone-head move killing-off XMPP.

I contend it was a mistake, and bet that Google will undo it. By October (on Apps, not Gmail). The other folks agreed on the first part, but disagreed that Google would reverse its course. That’s my position; the other two feel the story is over and XMPP and Google have parted ways indefinitely.

It is going to take some time for this to play out – and I can honestly see both ways. But here’s my logic on why the reversal is imminent. Google Apps customers include large organizations – universities and government – that implemented/accepted Google Apps possibly and partly because it did support XMPP. XMPP would enable, for example, a customer with Cisco Jabber to integrate IM/Presence between Jabber and Google Talk. When Google killed XMPP, it killed off any third-party integration with IM. My take is that these large customers are very upset.

But Google doesn’t always care what customers think, but they do always care what Microsoft thinks. Microsoft is doing well with Federation. Lync servers federate nicely, and now Lync/Skype are also integrated. Inter-site IM is becoming very important. Many partners including Esna, AVST, and Mitel were integrating presence with Google. The entire UC ecosystem seems very interested in integrating presence with Google Apps, yet Google slammed the door. That’s no way to build an ecosystem.

The primary reason Google killed XMPP was likely a knee-jerk reaction to Microsoft’s one way integration. Google must have figured that it is no fun being open if competitors take advantage of it. That is indeed the risk of being open. Amazon did a similar stunt by taking Android for its OS on the Kindle Fire without integrating to the Play store. Google is mesmerized with driving Google+ and building the Google ecosystem. That’s ok with free Gmail.

However, Google Apps is different – it isn’t as much about Google+ as it is attacking Microsoft’s strength with Office. Google Apps is the only viable Office competitor to get much traction. The impacts of Google Apps are significant, it even caused Microsoft to create Office 365.

I figure between the pressure from customers, partners, and fear of MS having the upper hand, Google will reverse its decision on Google Apps.


4 Responses to "Betting on XMPP" - Add Yours

Kevin Kieller 7/2/2013 2:38:21 PM

Some good points Dave.

I have seen federation in Lync drastically improve business. In one case, a large organization required their selected partner use Lync because Lync federation is so powerful in terms of collaborating and communication between organizations.

XMPP federation was never as good as Lync federation, mainly because XMPP provide the "lowest common denominator" experience which was equal to IM and presence (sort of). While Lync federation provides presence, IM, voice, video, file transfer, and desktop sharing in a way that is so simple ordinary users can and do use it.

Federation is a killer feature. I hope you are correct that Google reverses course.

Philipp Hancke 7/5/2013 2:40:38 AM

Dave: it was a useless countermove against the outlook integration which does not even use federation. I also think that it is quite exaggerated to say they "killed xmpp" -- it is likely still part of their internal infrastructure, especially for AV hangouts. So they just killed federation. Note that they were never strong in that area, e.g. all xmpp federation traffic was flowing unencryted despite the standard mandating TLS.

Kevin: XMPP vendors have (apart from jabber inc and the opensource guys from Jitsi) traditionally not been very interested in voice+video.
WebRTC is going to change this by providing a great open source media engine (for voice, video, desktop sharing and also file sharing via data channels) and we'll soon see federated audio/video as lowest common denominator.
Kevin Kieller 7/8/2013 2:13:34 PM


I don't see WebRTC as offering federation in the truest sense of the word. WebRTC offers peer-to-peer connections and really WebRTC is a toolkit and not a solution so even comparing it to solutions that offer federation is confusing.

Federation is typically about connecting one organization to another organization. For instance Lync federation allows users from one domain to contact users from another domain.
Blaine D'Amico 1/17/2014 1:35:11 PM

Is there any real update on this? Google sent a notice recently that they are putting the last nail in the google talk client by March and I saw some Google voice losing XMPP chatter with a May 2014 date.

We are an all google apps shop implementing Cisco UC in a big way this spring and summer. This action on google's part takes the Universal out of our UC solution in a big way. We are now talking about a flash cut for IM rather than a phased implementation so that at least all the staff stay connected but we still lose access to IM with colleagues, clients and customers who are on google chat now.

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