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From: Adam Rifkin -4K (
Date: Sun Apr 30 2000 - 16:43:11 PDT

I never realized that _Instant Messages Want To Be Free (TM)_ :

I do like the logo of faceless, naked, yellow "Little AOL Man" running
from that nasty, evil AOL Illuminatus Pyramid.

Smells like a former AOL veep is trying to lay the smack down on AOL for
patently anticompetitive practices in keeping AIM and ICQ closed.

The following reeks of jealousy:

> There are already over 1 billion instant messages sent every day, more
> than 130 million instant messaging users worldwide and more than 3
> million users signing up for instant messaging every month. It is the
> fastest growing application in the history of the Internet with an
> adoption rate greater than that of the browser. IM savvy individuals are
> using some of the most popular IM products such as: America Online's
> AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) and ICQ, which combined account for with 120
> million users between products AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) and ICQ;
> Tribal Voice with 8 million users of its PowWow-based instant messenger;
> and Microsoft with 5 million users of MSN Messenger Service.
> Additionally, AT&T, Yahoo, Excite, Multimate, NovaWiz, iCAST, and
> are among other instant messaging providers.

[Nevermind that AT&T's IMHere, iCAST,, and AltaVista IM are all
"powered by PowWow" -- looks like the CMGi cartel is an envious #2 to
AOL, and Microsoft in its DoJ-humbled state is in no position to get
together with CMGi decrying AOL's anticompetitive practices.]

> Non- interoperability of products eliminates communication between IM
> users of different vendor's products. This denies the consumer's freedom
> to choose instant messaging products based on features software
> capabilities, cripples technological growth and balkanizes the overall
> community. On the other hand, interoperability is important because it
> allows consumers to communicate with friends and colleagues regardless
> of the IM product they use. For example, users of Tribal Voice's
> PowWow-based software can communicate with users of MSN's Messenger
> service. For example, users of Tribal Voice's PowWow-based software can
> communicate with users of iCAST's iCaster.

Microsoft owns 5% of CMGi. So this entire whine consists of
CMGi-sympathetic companies saying, "Hey FCC, look, we all interoperate,
but that mean, nasty AOL, they won't play nice." Man I love CMGi.

> In a world of increasing worker mobility, dispersed organizations, and
> always-connected individuals, immediate access and global presence
> detection can significantly enhance the way we communicate, collaborate,
> and work on a daily basis. This isn't achievable in a world where one
> vendor's products can't speak to another. Consumers recognized this with
> the telephone, with e-mail and even with the VCR. The question is no
> longer if instant messengers will be interoperable, it's a matter of
> when. The sooner we achieve interoperability, the sooner we can develop
> the next step in personal communications.

 ...and the sooner we kick the chair out from under one of AOL's most
strategic of assets, its lock on the instant messaging market...

(A market, we might add, that has NEVER been monetized.)

Sigh. In parallel to this little episode, the IETF's IMPP working group
is getting the smack laid down on it and reminds me of the guy in the
Monty Python movie who gets put on the dead man cart even though he
claims he's not dead yet.

> Myth: Not all vendors can interoperate because they do not have a public
> software development kit (SDK).
> Fact: The companies involved with this petition that do not currently
> have an SDK are working on one and will work with any IM company seeking
> interoperability with their product.

It's almost enough to make one drop out of school and out of sight and
out of mind, cash out everything one made in this ridiculous pyramid
stock market, paint one's face with warpaint, read Sun Tzu for strategic
inspiration, and train in guerilla tactics and martial arts... surfacing
every once in a while to comment about Napster, Freenet, and Gnutella.



When the strike of a hawk breaks the body of its prey, it is because of timing. -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

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