AOL not invited to IMUnified alliance

Was AOL deliberately missed off the invite list?
Written by Richard Barry, Contributor and  Graeme Wearden, Contributor

This week saw the creation of a new Instant Messaging (IM) consortium, which promises to break the barriers between rival networks and create one massive messaging service. The world's biggest IM player was, however, not invited to take part.

The IMUnified alliance consists of Prodigy, Microsoft MSN, Yahoo!, Excite@home, Icast, AT&T, Odigo, Phone.com and Tribal Voice, and it plans to agree common specifications by the end of August. When implemented, users of one member network will be able to send instant messages to other networks by the autumn. At the moment, Internet users can only send instant messages to friends on the same operator.

The alliance claims to have been set up entirely in the interest of the consumer.

However, ZDNet has discovered that the IMUnified body did not inform Internet giant AOL of its plans. AOL says it was unaware of the alliance until ZDNet called its office for comment.

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In Charles Coopers opinion AOL remains within its rights to tell the runners-up in the IM war to take a hike. But the brain trust at America Online may be excused for feeling besieged. Seemingly everybody wants a piece of these guys. Go to AnchorDesk UK for the news comment.

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