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November 30th, 2000

Instant Messaging Madness

I finally succumbed. One day someone asked me over email, "Don’t you have MSN Messenger?" I gave. I downloaded it, tried it, hated it, and uninstalled it. But, for a short period of time, there were three different IM programs on my machine: AIM, Yahoo!, and MSN. (I can’t stand ICQ.)

Back in the day, QuantumLink – AOL’s grandpa – offered OLMs. OnLine Messages were simply text popups, but they were live, and pretty nifty. This morphed into the "Buddy List" on AOL, which came over to the net as AOL Instant Messenger. AIM didn’t exactly dominate – that was up to ICQ – but once AOL bought ICQ, things started getting interesting.

AIM remains the only way that net users can contact AOL users instantly. While AOL now offers "standards", earlier this year they beat down Tribal Voice (PowWow) and the almighty Microsoft by locking out non-AOL traffic on AIM. That is, you couldn’t use MSN Messenger to contact an AOLhead; you needed AIM. Microsoft complained, but nothing was done.

Thankfully, the Internet Engineering Task Force is working on a solution. It certainly would be nice to be able to download (or author!) a slick IM client that would work for everyone. For the time being, we need to have multiple programs doing the same task. Why? Because AOL didn’t want to give up their ad-laden, standards-breaking secrets. -pm

Posted in Technology

FROM: Robert
DATE: Thursday November 30, 2000 -- 8:56:05AM
As far as I know, AOL was the first to come up with this kind of chat program that really caught on. Why shouldn't they be allowed to protect it? Sure, it might be uncool but I can't blame them for it. Besides, I'm sure there are a million worse things that AOL does...

FROM: Terry Murphy
DATE: Thursday November 30, 2000 -- 11:30:29AM
I agree. It is absurd to suggest that AOL should be forced to open up their standard. AOL is their own proprietary network, and not only do they have much more knowledge of their users and systems need than outside world does, but they have every right to control what goes on the network.

Forced opening up of IM protocols is as absurd as the government enforcing massive legislation telling companies how they can and cannot build web browsers (oh yeah, they already do that)

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday November 30, 2000 -- 12:05:22PM
Maybe the standards are being "supported" by Microsoft to make them look good to the DOJ. After all, if AOL can have its own standards, why not MS?

Ultimately, I'd still like one portal to all of the popular IM clients out there, versus having fifty different apps open - almost all of which take up system tray space. I'd settle for one tray icon that then popped down to the multiple IM clients.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday November 30, 2000 -- 12:07:29PM
As an afterthought, it's very possible that IMs will go away when broadband becomes the dominant means of connection (which, of course, is quite a ways off.) People can use email instead, at the expense of weighing down mail servers.

FROM: Terry Murphy
DATE: Thursday November 30, 2000 -- 3:57:46PM
Well, AOL is taking a lot of heat from the FTC (as well as the EU) for the TW merger (and has compromised by allowed second choise ISP's to use the broadband lines). If advocating IM standards really was a way to suck up to the FTC, I think AOL would be doing it. So, I think MS is doing it, solely to get into a business they're losing (they don't advocate standards for the businesses they're winning...) AOL is also hypocritical because they filed a friend of the court brief against MS, yet they engage in activities which are popularly thought to be anti-competitive.

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 2:59:02 pm

FROM: Trillian - Your answer
DATE: Thursday June 15, 2006 -- 1:59:36 pm
Trillian -- All instant messangers in one

All you need is an account with the multiple IM services you want and can log on each of them with this one program.

No ads, no popups, no bugs.

I don't even have AIM installed.. nor will I ever for any reason ever again.
Don't worry about AOL allowing integration with ____ or vis versa... The people will just do it themselves.

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