June 13, 2003 5:10 PM PDT

AOL cuts RIM ties, picks up Sidekick

America Online is shutting down the service for its Mobile Communicator device on Aug. 1 and is offering a rebate on another wireless messaging device.

The Mobile Communicator pager, which was developed by Research In Motion and uses AOL software, allows owners of the device and subscribers to AOL's Internet service to access AOL instant messaging and e-mail using the gadget.

AOL announced Friday that it's ending the messaging service that its Mobile Communicators send and receive data from, citing a rapidly changing wireless landscape. AOL representatives said that while they're happy with the Mobile Communicator and the positive feedback they received from customers, the company favors other devices that can perform the same functions.

Introduced in late 2000 for $329.95, the Mobile Communicator was viewed as an expensive device for the consumer market it was targeting. The device was part of AOL's Anywhere strategy, which was the company's plan to reach beyond traditional PCs and computer networks into the heavily touted areas of wireless communications, traditional broadcast media, and Net-enabled devices.

In a message posted on its Web site, AOL recommended other gadgets that offer access to AOL services and offered a $100 rebate on T-Mobile's recently released color Sidekick device.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Danger, the start-up that developed the software and service that the Sidekick uses to send and receive data, has been tightening its relationship with AOL as the popularity of AOL Instant Messenger on Sidekicks has increased. The two companies said in mid-March that AOL subscribers would be able to access their e-mail on the Danger devices.

 

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