OPINION: Messaging Wars Heat Up


Last week saw some significant milestones in the battle of the messaging platforms.

The morning of Symphony’s 2017 user conference, the Financial Times ran an article in which Bloomberg announced that would de-bundle its Enterprise IB messaging platform from the Bloomberg Terminal and offer a $10/month per user license, or half the price of a Symphony license.

The “thumb in the eye” from its competitor did not dampen the celebratory mood of the open-sourced messaging platform provider.

Over the two years since Symphony starting shipping its messaging platform, the upstart has gained approximately 235,000 paid subscribers. However, Symphony acknowledged that it only consider about 118,000 of its subscribers as “active” users, according to the FT.

Third-party application providers also took the opportunity to announce new and improved integration efforts with the messaging platform.

AOL bookended the conference by announing late last week that it would shutter its AOL Instant Messenger service on December 15 after its 20-year run. The news has left many in the financial services community looking for a replacement.

To call Bloomberg’s or Symphony’s offerings simple messaging platforms like AIM would be doing them a disservice. These are productivity platforms, not chat clients sitting on desktops. The use of “workflow” outnumbered “messaging” almost three-to-one during some of the panel discussions.

It raises a question though: How much does Wall Street know about developing productivity applications?

It sounds as if the industry is moving away from its core competency and straying into the world of general business applications.

Would it not make more sense instead of developing productivity platforms from scratch just leverage existing productivity platforms used across other industries and use your resources to tailor those platforms for your needs?

I doubt that the industry would be able to set up a project for a Wall Street-flavored customer relationship management platform as long as Salesforce.com is in the picture. Why do it for messaging?

However, I have been wrong before in underestimating fintech developers.

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