AOL: Not AIMing for interoperability

America Online is backing away from opening its instant messaging servers to let them communicate with rival networks, according to a government regulatory filing.

Instead, AOL will pursue marketing agreements with other companies under which they will funnel their IM services to AOL's 150 million registered instant messaging users on AOL's servers.

In contrast, server-to-server interoperability would mean establishing communication links between two distinct IM networks, such as between AOL and MSN or Yahoo. This is where AOL has alleged that security and privacy issues have arisen for all parties trying to interoperate. For AOL, the investment may not be worth the effort.

The document, filed last week, is part of a required progress report that the Federal Communications Commission enacted as a condition to approving the merger between AOL and Time Warner in January 2001. The conditions required that AOL file progress reports of its interoperability tests every 180 days. It also required AOL to open its instant messaging network to a competitor if it decides to offer "advanced, IM-based high-speed services" (AIHS) through Time Warner Cable, both divisions of parent company AOL Time Warner.

News source: ZDNet

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