February 20, 2006 9:01 PM PST

AOL, WebEx team up for new AIM services

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A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.
update America Online is expected on Tuesday to announce two new versions of the company's instant message service that are designed specifically for businesses.

In a partnership with Web-conferencing leader WebEx Communications, AOL plans to launch the tentatively named AIM Pro in the second quarter. One AIM Pro package will target small businesses and the self-employed, while another is intended to appeal to larger companies. Both will differ from the free AIM service by offering a customized interface, additional security, voice, video and Web collaboration capabilities, the companies said in a statement.

"We are extremely pleased to be working with WebEx to offer at-work users a customized AIM experience that works in a professional environment and addresses today?s business communications needs," said Brian Curry, AOL vice president of Premium and Subscription Services.

This is AOL's latest attempt to cash in on the popularity of its AIM service. What remains to be seen is whether the new applications can entice companies to pay for instant messaging. Yahoo, Microsoft and Google also offer free IM services.

AOL pioneered instant messaging more than a decade ago and owns 56 percent of the worldwide market share, according to the research firm, the Radicati Group.

But AOL has had to fend off increasing competition from the next two biggest competitors in the sector: Microsoft and Yahoo. The companies announced in October that they would for the first time allow their customers to communicate across instant-message platforms. The combined customer base of Yahoo and Microsoft equals 44 percent of the market.


Correction: This article misstated when America Online's new instant messaging services would be released. The company plans to make them available in the second quarter.

See more CNET content tagged:
WebEx Communications Inc., AOL Instant Messenger, America Online Inc., Time Warner Inc., IM


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New Math
There are other chat services than AOL, MSN and Yahoo. So how is
it that these three add up to 100 percent of the market?
Posted by ewelch (767 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Seems fishy, huh?
It also seems dubious to me that AOL "pioneered instant messaging." They own the copy right on that particular term, but to my knowledge the first client for instant messaging as we know it today was ICQ, which did in fact release around a decade ago. It'd be nice if these sort of claims were backed up with an explaination.
Posted by someguy389 (102 comments )
Link Flag
"IBM Lotus Sametime"....
... appears to be the best business instant messaging and collaboration application I have used so far (at least up to version 6.x.x); thus, the assumption is that with recently announced IBM Lotus Sametime Version 7.5 ( <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www-306.ibm.com/software/info/lotus/sametime/index.html" target="_newWindow">http://www-306.ibm.com/software/info/lotus/sametime/index.html</a> ) the business application "leadership" superiority gap may have been even widened further with plans by IBM to provide AIM users among others, the ability to send and receive instant messages to and from Sametime users (one plus for Lotus Sametime -- no need for Sametime users having to have multiple OEMs' Instant Messaging Applications running on their systems to be able to communicate with AIM and other users)! ;-)
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IBM Lotus Sametime
I think the Lotus Sametime announcement was to little to late, in addition, they need to improve the stability of Sametime, when I used it about 25 percent of the time it would crash, or the servers it ran on were so heavily loaded because to the nature of Lotus Notes running on the same server, it was not worth the time or effort to use.

The other problem I have is, how long will IBM stick with Lotus. They tend to drop products once they have determined its not a viable product, yet, when that product was released they claim it is the latest and greatest app, and that all others pale in comparison (OS2, IBM PC's) etc etc etc.

Posted by blasterdaddy (4 comments )
Link Flag
WOW! What about eAuditorium web conferencing?
WOW. What a misstatement!
According to this article between Aol, Yahoo, MS they own 100% of the market! WOW!
Doesn't Mr. Sandoval know about NetDIVE WeMeeting IM or eAuditorium web conferencing? They have been around since 1997, they are up to version 7.5s and 100's of Thousands if not Millions of people use
them worldwide daily!

Now a point:
what really makes Web conferencing different, higher value than free IM services are features such a Application Sharing. This is a capability that no free service provides as it is extremely CPU &#38; bandwidth intensive, etc.
Also such Enterprise ability to integrate with a company's SQL DB.
However NetDIVE is now offering its eAuditorium web conferencing for free license and just charging for support, ala MySQL model.
So if you want the real market leader in Web conferencing check out eAuditorium:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.netdive.com/indexea.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.netdive.com/indexea.htm</a>

Cheers :)
Posted by Dean_Ansari (61 comments )
Reply Link Flag
C/NET News.com and the rest of us ...
... reading and commenting on this article should congratulate Greg Sandoval for writing and publishing this article on instant messaging as it is felt that instant messaging will undoubtedly become an integral part of the future of computing as we have come to know it today; and, as it is now known -- the age of the "telegraph" and the "telegram" is no more. On hind sight, since AOL is considering some sort of fee structure at some time in the future for the use of its IM applications... the fact that there are at times "crappy" comments on some of these news articles perhaps a small "fee" can be charged if a user wishes to contribute/comment on these article as a value proposition; in this case, the substance and integrity of the content may be guaranteed. Perhaps, even consider compensating for some contributions from some persons! ;-)
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
inaccuracy ....
AOL didn't make the first IM client, they opened their wallets and bought ICQ, which was an independant (?israeli?) company at the time. AOL IM came along after ICQ was available and possibily before AOL bought ICQ.
Posted by bobsmithuk (1 comment )
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