49% of Europeans and 37% of Americans use instant messengers

comScore Networks found that 82 mln people, or 49% of the European online population, used IM applications to communicate online in February 2006. In comparison, 69 mln people in North America, or only 37% of the online population, used IM during the same timeframe. IM is most heavily used in the Latin American region, with 64% of the online population using IM in February 2006. MSN Messenger application has the strongest penetration worldwide, with 61% of worldwide IM users utilizing the application in February. MSN Messenger is also dominant in Latin America, reaching more than 90% of IM users, and in Europe and Asia Pacific, reaching more than 70% of IM users in each region. North America is the most competitive IM market, with MSN Messenger, AOL/AIM and Yahoo! Messenger each garnering between 27% and 37% of IM users in February 2006. Skype is now used by 14% of IM users worldwide, although this application is used by only 3% of the online population in North America. Skype appears most popular in Asia Pacific, reaching 26% of the region?s IM user population.