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TechWeb: IM Industry Rails Against AOL's Iron Curtain

May 24, 2000, 18:51 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Barbara Darrow)

"AOL (stock: AOL) is the undisputed market leader in instant messaging (IM), with an estimated 120 million users of its ICQ or AIM offerings. But, to hear rivals tell it, AOL is squeezing the lifeblood out of instant messaging by refusing to let its system interoperate with other vendors' systems."

"One industry observer said AOL is only hurting itself with isolation. "If AOL doesn't want to open up, that's their prerogative," said Jeff Pulver, founder of Pulver.com, host of the IM 2000 conference in Boston this week. "Their customers lose and AOL is at risk for not being compatible with the rest of the world. In a free service, there is no brand loyalty and when other guys start offering stuff AOL doesn't, AOL will suffer."

"The group is formulating submissions on a common standard protocol to be submitted to the IETF on June 15. Virtually all IM players -- Microsoft, Tribal Voice, FaceTime Communications, iCast -- are represented at the Boston show. Everyone except AOL. Pulver said the company was invited. AOL did not return calls seeking comment."

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