AOL to bring Net phone calls to instant messaging

The online giant announces a deal with Net2Phone that will allow users of AOL's Instant Messenger technology to place phone calls between computers, phones and fax machines.

America Online today announced a deal with Net2Phone that will allow users of its Instant Messenger technology to place and receive phone calls between computers, phones and fax machines.

Under the terms of the agreement, Dulles, Va.-based AOL will work with Net2Phone to create AOL Instant Messenger (AIM)-branded Internet telephony products and services, including an AIM-branded card that offers AIM users low-cost Internet telephony, the company said.

Based in Hackensack, N.J., Net2Phone enables people to place phone calls from their computer, telephone or fax machine to any telephone or fax machine in the world.

The new agreement allows AIM users to place calls to other phones from their Internet-enabled PCs and from traditional phones to other users' PCs. It also allows users to send documents from their PCs to fax machines and take part in conference calls.

"With this agreement, we are significantly building the tremendous value of our popular AOL Instant Messenger product that is revolutionizing online communications," Barry Schuler, president of AOL interactive services, said in a statement. "Combining instant messaging with spoken conversation will bring even more convenience to our AOL Instant Messenger users."

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