(IDG) -- Business users are warming up to instant messaging over the Internet, catching up with the explosive growth the service has enjoyed among home users, according to a new study.
Among the three leading brands of instant messengers -- America Online Inc.'s AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Inc.'s Yahoo Messenger -- business use was up 110 percent in the U.S. over the past year, from 2.3 billion minutes in September 2000 to 4.9 billion minutes in September 2001, New York-based research firm Jupiter Media Metrix Inc. said in a statement Wednesday. (AOL Time Warner is the parent company of CNN.com.)
In the workplace, 13.4 million unique users were counted this September, an increase of 34 percent from 10 million users during the same month a year earlier.
Despite the rapid growth, business users are still far outnumbered by home instant-messaging enthusiasts, according to Jupiter's figures. Home users increased 28 percent, from 42 million in September 2000 to 53.8 million in September 2001, and spent 13.6 billion minutes using the service the month before last, a jump of 48 percent from the 9.2 billion minutes logged in September 2000.
In the workplace, as at home, AIM is the leading instant-messaging brand, but its competitors are gaining ground, Jupiter reported. AOL had 8.8 million unique business users in September 2001, an increase of 17 percent over the previous year; MSN had 4.8 million users, up 88 percent; and Yahoo! had 3.4 million users, up 83 percent.