OPSWAT is a company that provides software management solutions to enterprise, so they clearly have an extreme interest in knowing what’s running on the PCs of their users.
They have collected 43000 data points using their software running on real PCs and revealed interesting information about the real market share of applications.
Of most interest to us is the market share of instant messaging clients, and what is very clear from their data is that the Microsoftâ€™s Skype deal did not just buy another IM network, but bought a monopoly on the market, just as we speculated.
Looking at their numbers, the much underrated Windows Live Messenger had the largest share, with 40.67%, followed by Skype at 27.39%. Combined the share is more than 68%.
Google Talk, for all its vaunted mind share with the digirati, had no more than 3.5% market share world wide.
Of course the data did not account for all IM usage, excluding Facebook Chat and web-based Google Chat, but then Microsoft already supports Facebook Chat very well with Messenger, so we do not think it changes the numbers massively.
Windows Phone 7.5 will feature deal IM integration, allowing users to use it in place of text messaging, and will for the first time also have a Skype client.
If Microsoft integrates the two services rapidly the network effect should be massive, which will tremendously increase the value of their investment, making that $8.5 billion seem pretty reasonable.
The report can be downloaded here.