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O'Reilly Network: The Jabber Jihad: Universal Instant Messaging

Oct 31, 2000, 18:52 (0 Talkback[s])

"America Online has said it supports the idea of a universal protocol for open instant messaging, and some parties are asking the FTC to make this a prerequisite of approving AOL's merger with Time Warner. The company appears to be dragging its feet, possibly to drag out its proprietary advantage. But with workarounds like Jabber, is that a problem?"

"John Ochwat
Technology Reporter for O'Reilly Network and Forbes ASAP:
[AOL has] every advantage in the world for not moving on this. They have a monopoly position. They have over 90 percent of the market. You can make the case that instant messaging is free, so what good is a monopoly. But the AOL Instant Messenger has a little ad window on it, which they can sell, and that's lucrative. They also steer more traffic to their portal pages, ICQ.com and AOL.com. … And it's a classic case of viral marketing: if you and I are both on here and a friend of ours is going to get a chat client, they're going to want to chat with us. And if the only way they can do that is AOL Instant Messenger, that's probably the one they're going to pick up."

Complete Story [ Entire roundtable discussion is a 3.7 MB audio download; more quoted text excerpts appear on the web page - LT ed. ]

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