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SJ Mercury: 2 companies seek to open AOL instant messaging

Apr 26, 2000, 20:38 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jon Fortt)

"Two Internet service companies want the government to force America Online to open up its dominant instant messaging service as a condition to approving AOL's giant merger with Time Warner Inc."

"In documents filed Tuesday with the Federal Communications Commission, iCast Corp. of Woburn, Mass., and Tribal Voice of Denver say AOL controls more than 90 percent of the instant messaging market. They argue that unless the government uses the merger review to force AOL to make its instant messenger service an open communications medium similar to e-mail and the telephone, the AOL/Time Warner team will have unfair control over an increasingly critical type of Internet communication."

"Dulles, Va.-based AOL, the country's leading Internet and online provider with more than 22 million subscribers, counters that it favors openness and has allowed several companies such as Earthlink Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. to license its instant messaging software for free. But AOL has insisted that it retain control over the technology, while many competitors are pushing for an open standard."

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