ZDNN: Open letter to Steve Case

Executives from [email protected], 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

“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.”