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AIM e-mail debuts

America Online launches free Web-based e-mail for IM users and plans to give AOL subscribers unlimited e-mail storage.

America Online has launched free Web-based e-mail with 2GB of storage for AOL Instant Messenger users.

AIM users can access e-mail with one click and can use their screen name as their e-mail address, the company said. The e-mail service, dubbed AIM Mail, is part of an updated version of the AIM 5.9 software, released Monday.

AIM's Web-based e-mail has numerous competitors, including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. But its integration with IM is a new feature.

As part of the updated AIM, people can also have up to 400 entries in their Buddy List and can store more contact information on each one.

AIM Mail uses technology from Mailblocks, which AOL acquired last year. The company said AIM's 22 million users will be asked if they want to activate their e-mail accounts through the upgrade.

In related news, AOL said Monday that sometime this summer it will begin offering unlimited e-mail storage for regular AOL subscribers. AOL's nearly 80 million e-mail account holders will be able save and store an unlimited number of e-mails, attachments and folders on AOL's servers, the company said.

The company also said that as of Monday, up to seven screen names on a single dial-up account can sign on simultaneously from multiple locations. Now, one person can be signed on via dial-up and another six can sign on via broadband. This feature was previously available only for broadband users.