TechWeb: IM Industry Rails Against AOL’s Iron Curtain

“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
— 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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