Abstract The technology of instant messaging (IM) currently permeates our various methods of communication. However, since the technology is incapable of providing consistent communication across all channels the users utilize instant messaging as a secondary form of communication. The problem of interoperability between vendors is discussed and proposed solutions examined. Specifically, the standards proposed through the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) are presented and evaluated as viable solutions to the problem of standardization. A determination of the requirements for a standard is developed and presented so as to recognize the important elements necessary to maintain and expand instant messaging. Finally, an examination of the future of IM application capable of interoperability is offered so as to describe how the technology might thrive given the proper foundation.