AOL opens up IM

Tech Culture

America Online Monday released a toolkit that would allow developers to create their own version of its popular instant messaging product.


While AOL controls a large portion of the instant messaging market, it faces strong competition from Yahoo, Microsoft and Google. The company has staunchly fought off attempts competitors to link up with its service.

And AOL's not budging from that position. While the toolkit will let creators come up with their own versions of the AIM service, they'll still be prohibited from linking up to a competitor's network.

Blog community response:

"The AOL staffer claims that this project has been worked on for the last 2 years or so, and that there are 'no' restrictions as to what can and cannot be developed with the SDK. The only limitation cited, which is sure to keep Trillian and co. on their heals, is the apparent ban on 'multi-headed client' implementation."

"That's the really telling part: they were prompted to do this in response to a superior product entering the market based on an already established, truly open standard. If they're so aware that their product sucks that they'll try harder to preserve the walled garden, perhaps it's time for users to consider the alternatives."

"The reason I am enthusiastic here is that the marketer gets to use AIM to solidify their relationship with the consumer on the desktop. However, I wouldn't just slap your brand on AIM. I would layer in some value-added services, such as AIM bots and feed alerts."
--Micro Persuasion

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