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ZDNet: Berst Alert: FTC to AOL: IM Watching You

Jun 15, 2000, 14:16 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jesse Berst)

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"Here's my message to the Federal Trade Commission: IT'S ABOUT TIME! It's about time you investigate the stranglehold America Online has on the instant messaging market. It's about time you gave Steve Case and company grief about the proprietary game their playing."

"Instant messaging is the communication software that allows users to create private chat rooms and exchange nearly real-time messages. There's no standard for the service now, although AOL's AIM and ICQ instant-messaging services could amount to one with an estimated 90% of the market and 150 million chatting accounts. But they are closed systems. You don't have access unless you pay the AOL monopoly tax. AOL now pays only lip service to efforts to create an instant-messaging standard. And it continues to out-and-out block non-AOL users from exchanging instant messages with AOL users. ... I say the feds should do more than investigate."

"It took the feds 10 years to finally confront the Redmond bully. By that time, Microsoft had ruthlessly squashed who knows how many companies. Let's not give AOL the chance to do the same."

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