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ZDNN: Open letter to Steve Case

Jul 30, 1999, 20:06 (28 Talkback[s])

Executives from Excite@Home, Microsoft, Activerse, Tribal Voice, Prodigy, Yahoo!, AT&T, and Infoseek have signed an open letter to AOL...

"We are sure you are aware of the issue regarding interoperability between the instant messaging services of AOL and other vendors and of AOL's efforts to block instant messaging clients from other companies. These actions have led to an unproductive game of cat and mouse as we respond to your blockages to turn interoperability back on for users and you block us again."

"Steve, AOL is to be applauded for its early leadership in this space and for the foresight to purchase ICQ. The consequence of these efforts is your strong position in the marketplace. But now is the time to unlock the broadest possibilities of this technology and the Internet by tearing down the walls between vendors so that all customers can talk to one another. Certainly this is in our interests but it is also in the interests of our mutual customers. Surely, we can all agree that it's important for people from all walks of life to be able to communicate with one another in an unfettered and open fashion. Indeed, imagine a world in which users of one particular telephone service were unable to interconnect with users of another service. Similarly, imagine if AOL members could only email other AOL members. Such a world is not in the best interests of customers."

"Consequently, in the spirit of doing what is right for consumers and our industry, we'd like to convene a meeting of our respective companies to begin the far more productive process of creating an industry standard."

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