Full Article Attached Opinion: AOL/Microsoft Real-Time Messaging Debate

Friday July 30th, 1999

As you all know, AOL, Netscape's parent company has been involved in a cat-and-mouse game with Microsoft over access to their Instant Messaging protocol. Yesterday, AOL announced a partnership with Apple to bring Instant Messenger to Mac users. Today, Microsoft and other Messaging hopefuls wrote an open letter to Steve Case of AOL asking him to stop blocking them from access to the Instant Messenger protocol.

I'm not going to go into all the details regarding this at the moment, but I'd like to throw out an opinion and see what mozillaZine readers think. Click Full Article below to read more, and give us your opinions in Talkback.

(Note: this doesn't really affect Mozilla, but since AOL is now Netscape's parent company, I thought it would be interesting to get the opinions from those who are involved in or interested in the Mozilla project.)

#1 Instant Messaging

by Quelish

Friday July 30th, 1999 9:09 AM

I'v had the desire for a long while to be able to use ICQ to talk to folks using other IM programs. Now I find it very ironic that Microsoft is suddenly leading the push for an open standard for these apps.

AOL has invested lots of money in their AIM and ICQ programs. Let's suppose Microsoft pushes for and gets an open standard that everyone starts adhering to. How soon after that will they bundle their IM app with Windows and give it prime placement on the desktop? So much for all the money that AOL invested...

Considering the recent deal between AOL and Netscape, and also considering that AOL is maneuvering to use Mozilla in future versions instead of IE, I wouldn't put it past Microsoft to try and get back at AOL any way they can. After all, they'll be losing a large chunk of the browser market -- think of all those free AOL coasters we get in the mail and that they'd be loaded with Mozilla and not IE.

Sadly, an open standard is a double edged sword that I'm afraid Microsoft could use to their advantage. After all, if every app can talk to each other than who's going to take the time to download AIM or ICQ when the MSN messanger comes on their desktop?

#2 IM and Mozilla

by basic

Friday July 30th, 1999 9:53 AM

What about IM in Mozilla? The last I heard was that neoplanet was leading it. But the IM newsgroup has had just noise, not even a post from neoplanet.

#4 IM and Mozilla

by Anon

Friday July 30th, 1999 10:01 AM


IIRC this occured around the time of the AOL takeover. Of course it's their right to do this and although I'd rather have a real open standard I'd prefer AOL to have a monopoly on this than Microsoft.

Reason: monopolies are bad. AOL and Microsoft are not particularly good companies in this respect. However, AOL is much less powerful than Microsoft and therefore if Microsoft get this monopoly this is yet another area that they get to control the internet and they can then make it one more reason to stick with Windows.

#46 AOL a monopoly?

by Anon

Saturday July 31st, 1999 9:57 PM

In reference to this statement that you made: (Reason: monopolies are bad. AOL and Microsoft are not particularly good companies in this respect)

I would beg to differ with you. A monopoly isn't only the tight grip of control of an industry or even a somewhat of a control over and industy. That being a horizontal monopoly. Another kind is a vertical monopoly in which said company controls everything required to make a certain product or products from basic materials all the way through to the finished product arena thus undercutting the other vendors prices. As it stands now , AOL just simply has it's fingers in a whole bunch of pies so to speak.

#60 Re:IM and Mozilla

by basic

Wednesday August 4th, 1999 10:12 PM

I was refering to this:,4,36529,00.html What happened to it? Since netscape/AOL is not involve anymore, what has neoplanet done?

#3 dave

by Anon

Friday July 30th, 1999 9:55 AM

First of all we all really know that Microsoft only care for open standards when they are behind as it makes it easier for them to catch up. Once they are are in the lead they'll add new 'innovations' that make the product more useful to the user but incompatible with the opposition.

I find it strange that Eric Raymond is supporting Microsoft on this one, they may appear to be doing the right thing but if doing the right thing is just a way to then do the wrong thing then ultimately it is the wrong thing!

ESR shouldn't have been telling the open source community to support Microsoft on this matter, he should have been telling Microsoft to support the open source community and release their messenger open source so it could be ported to other operating systems. Because once the product is open source it's easier to see if they're changing the standard and if they stopped making the product open source (which would only happen if they became the market leader) we could publically show them up for going against their earlier principles on that matter and we'd still have their previous source code too.

Off course the best thing to do with this is to show the world that Microsoft really don't believe in open standards and then tell them that we demand that they make their office document formats open. I think for most people having a format they can use to send documents whether they're word processor, spreadsheets, presentations, etc whatever product they're using and on whatever platform is more important than a stupid instant messenger app.

The difference is that MS is the market leader in office software and they've spent a lot of money to get to that position, just like AOL have with the instant messenger.

Well I do believe there should be an open standard in this and in any other form of communication, however you know Microsoft's motives are not to be open. I support an open standard but I don't support Microsoft unless they stop their hypocritical attitude.

If Microsoft wants our support they have to open up some of their own protocols.

#36 Document formats

by Anon

Friday July 30th, 1999 10:50 PM

** The MS document formats are already extensively documented. The quality is not very good, but it's about what you'd expect for the sort of cowboys who'd put a "Talking Paperclip" in a productivity tool. Having read the Excel docs, I'd say most errors / omissions are genuine mistakes. The best thing we could hope for out of this is a single "instant-messaging" standard codified in an RFC. AOL etc. will want proprietary extensions, but so long as the core messaging stuff remains standard, everyone -- particularly the users -- wins. The worst thing that could happen is that Microsoft "leverages" their user base in a future Win9x version (Oh the horror, DOS lives into the 21st century) or in W2K to create yet-another-proprietary-system, which is totally closed. Everyone who's glad we'd already standardised email before these idiots arrived, raise your hand :) Nick.

#49 Document formats

by Tanyel

Sunday August 1st, 1999 3:07 AM

I think AOL did a pretty good job of ignoring e-mail standards. When you put a picture in AOL mail, anybody not on AOL won't see the picture. Why couldn't they just support HTML mail instead of making their own thing? Also, if you send mail to somebody on AOL with more than one file attached, it just sucks. I don't know if those are official standards though, or just good things AOL chose to ignore.

#5 Opinion: AOL/Microsoft Real-Time Messaging Debate

by indeyets

Friday July 30th, 1999 10:11 AM

Guys! Even if ICQ source-code is not officially released, there are a lot of ICQ-clones. Somebody should send URL of one of those to BillGates. :o)

#13 Opinion: AOL/Microsoft Real-Time Messaging Debate

by wheezy

Friday July 30th, 1999 11:48 AM

The issue isn't with the source of the client (which, btw, is IM, not ICQ) but with the actual networking protocols to communicate with the servers. AOL has been shifting their servers' protocol so that their own clients can still use it but clients which have been written for a protocol which was reconstructed using reverse-engineering can not. Microsoft has been adapting quickly to the rapid protocol shifts, but AOL is being inappropriately evasive.

#25 AOL's Protocol

by Tekhir

Friday July 30th, 1999 2:50 PM

Well, all I can say is that those AOL engineers really know who to toy with the protocol without effecting the client software. They must have been planning for this for a while.

#33 LOL

by badben

Friday July 30th, 1999 9:22 PM

Not bad, these guys :-) I'd like to see the concept.

I hate ICQ/IM for being proprietary. AOL is not less evil than MS, but smaller. I hope, they don't change the Moz-strategy.

#6 Opinion: Userbase

by Anon

Friday July 30th, 1999 10:34 AM

The original article had it exactly right. This is not about Open Source, Standards, Mozilla or indeed anything much to do with MozillaZine.

However it is an interesting story, and noticably the reaction to it is entirely based on the fact that Microsoft is one of the signatories.

I would agree with most of the posters so far that communication protocols really need an Open Standard and that the letter is correct in urging AOL to join the IETF process.

Where I disagree is that the "interim solution" is opening AOL's servers. Surely the real interim solution is to AOL to provide a de facto standard that could be implemented on other servers.

AOL seems to be within the limits of the law in "protecting" its customer base and therefore the case against them is little more than bluster. Whether it is the "right" thing to do is another matter and one which is wholly relative... Personally I do not think that the customers of Instant Messanger can complain too much, they knew that it was a proprietary service. There are alternatives to the service (obviously no exact duplicates) available.

I think that AOL's access blocking will ultimately lead to an Open Standard being created far more quickly than normal. From there we'll be able to chose our "Service Provider" and client according to our whims. Freedom of choice after all is the only hope of pleasing most of the people, most of the time.

#7 Is this for real?

by Anon

Friday July 30th, 1999 11:06 AM

Where did that letter come from? The URL ( is rather suspicious looking. What's the real host? Where did you find that link?

#10 Yes, it is.

by mozineAdmin

Friday July 30th, 1999 11:29 AM

Here's another view, from ZDNet:,4586,2305488,00.html

#62 MS Link

by Jake

Friday August 6th, 1999 9:50 AM

Microsoft now has this letter on their home page, also...

#8 M$ & Standards

by Jake

Friday July 30th, 1999 11:10 AM

We all know Microsoft's opinion on standards... write 'em, force other's to comply to 'em, ignore 'em.

If Microsoft is so concerened about their "custormers" being able to talk to AOL users, then why didn't they just offer AIM for d/l?

Has Microsoft opened their servers for AOL to be able to include MSN support in AIM? How about for Yahoo!?

If Yahoo! agrees so much with Micrsoft, why are their two clients incompatible?

What ever happened to net meeting? Wasn't that about ppl being able to connect and exchange stuff (even more stuff than AIM??)?

If Microsoft thinks a letter is the way to make things happen, maybe Netscape/AOL should send one to Microsoft asking for IE to be standards compliant.

I realize that the above are just little "sniplets" and not related to much to each other, but really, how do you think Micrsoft would respond to a letter asking them to open ANYTHING. As with most, I agree that it would be nice to be able to not have 3 different Instant Messenger clients running, but do we really need to do that at the expence of AOL? Why not make Microsoft pay for it if they want it so bad... or is Bill & Co. to poor for something like that?

#9 Open letter

by Anon

Friday July 30th, 1999 11:19 AM

Why not draft an open letter to Microsoft asking them to open up their office file formats as they'll be a greater benefit to most people. Then get their rivals and some key open source advocates to sign the letter.

#11 Mozilla and real-time messaging

by jeremie

Friday July 30th, 1999 11:30 AM

I'm planning on making an announcement next week (in the middle of a server move and project restructuring at the moment) relating to Jabber and Mozilla.

The jist of it is that I want to form a team to create a Jabber client for Mozilla. This would allow anyone using Mozilla to talk transparently to a variety of supported messaging systems, including AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, IRC, and others.

Some people don't like the fact that Jabber is server based and the client would rely on the server for most of it's functionality, but one of the directions that Jabber will start developing in is a personal Jabber server, so it all happens on the client side.

Again, look for more information next week!


#24 Mozilla and real-time messaging

by ERICmurphy

Friday July 30th, 1999 1:50 PM

Glad to hear the news, and that you are moving forward.


#12 any less and they wouldn't be Microsoft

by Anon

Friday July 30th, 1999 11:39 AM

This is there standard tactic. They see something they want, then they do whatever is necessary to take it. Expect any less and they would not be Microsoft. As far as the AIM system goes, I think it should be open. Microsoft wil get it one way or another, no matter what you do. They listen to noone. Good luck to AOL in trying to stop them. It does not sound like they have a patent on this else they could sue Microsoft for infringment.

#14 AOL and MS: peas in a pod

by Anon

Friday July 30th, 1999 12:08 PM

AOL is just as bad as MS. This week Microsoft was worse, next week it'll be AOL, then Microsoft again. Why are we talking about this?

#15 Opinion: AOL/Microsoft Real-Time Messaging Debate

by elvii

Friday July 30th, 1999 12:12 PM

Obviously, Microsoft's only motivation is profit and gaining access to AOL's userbase. I don't think that this was ever an argument. The point that many have been making - rightly - is that things will be better if there is a single userbase for IM programs. I don't think anyone actually believes that Microsoft is a righteous company fighting for standards.

That said, people seem to think that Microsoft is an evil, Satanic entity, and AOL are the plucky little good guys. I don't care if they bought netscape, THIS IS AOL PEOPLE! Anyway, rule #1 of life & business: large, publically traded corporations always look out for their good and nothing else. This includes AOL and Microsoft. This debate is very close to the one AOL is involved in with opening access to cable Internet to third parties. The cable companies built the wires and cultivated their own userbase. Why should AOL get access? Cause they want the money!

#16 Opinion: AOL/Microsoft Real-Time Messaging Debate

by elvii

Friday July 30th, 1999 12:12 PM

Obviously, Microsoft's only motivation is profit and gaining access to AOL's userbase. I don't think that this was ever an argument. The point that many have been making - rightly - is that things will be better if there is a single userbase for IM programs. I don't think anyone actually believes that Microsoft is a righteous company fighting for standards.

That said, people seem to think that Microsoft is an evil, Satanic entity, and AOL are the plucky little good guys. I don't care if they bought netscape, THIS IS AOL PEOPLE! Anyway, rule #1 of life & business: large, publically traded corporations always look out for their good and nothing else. This includes AOL and Microsoft. This debate is very close to the one AOL is involved in with opening access to cable Internet to third parties. The cable companies built the wires and cultivated their own userbase. Why should AOL get access? Cause they want the money!

#17 oooh - double post

by elvii

Friday July 30th, 1999 12:13 PM

and I only clicked submit once.

#19 oooh - double post

by mozineAdmin

Friday July 30th, 1999 12:34 PM

That's curious. I'll look into it...

#34 Opinion: AOL/Microsoft Real-Time Messaging Debate

by BehrQattz

Friday July 30th, 1999 10:17 PM

Here's a comment I posted on ZDNet, but it's applicable here....

AOL does not have a monopoly. Unlike in the OS market, there are several viable options. Even then, they are willing to work with other messengers in partnerships or agreements, such as with Apple and Lotus. Microsoft and Yahoo simply have not made a reasonable offer. Instead, Microsoft has repeatedly "hacked" their way into AOL's network. Hasn't that sort of thing put several people in prison? AOL wants open access of the cable lines. If they "hacked" their way into the cable infrastructure against the will of the cable companies, wouldn't they be in for a huge lawsuit? They certainly would. But AOL has not. They have simply asked for the opportunity to access a monopolized infrastructure.

I have heard the argument that Microsoft is just accessing servers like anyone would access a web page off AOL's servers. Wrong. There is a great deal of information and services available on the Web that require paid access, and accessing them without paying for these services is "hacking". IM is a service that requires payment. For the general user-base, they have chosen to subsidize payment via advertising, as well as using the service to build customer base (subsidized by marketing funds, if you wish). It is a paid for service, and Microsoft is accessing it without permission. That is "hacking".

It would be wonderful if all the IM's could interconnect. It could happen if companies were willing to work with AOL instead of illegally accessing their network.

#18 What The Customer Wants

by Anon

Friday July 30th, 1999 12:17 PM

I can't help but laugh when I read phrases like "...what's good for the customer..." or "...what the customer wants...". If there's one thing that's certain, is that nobody in any company anywhere in the world has ever, and will never, do anything that's in the best interests of their customers. Nobody. Never. Ever.

#20 OpenHotmail

by Anon

Friday July 30th, 1999 12:35 PM

Hey all,

Why don't we ask MS to open their hotmail mail store to the world. I mean, its about time that I can use any client that I want to read my hotmail mail. The only thing standing in my way is the fact that Microsoft spends TONS of money running hotmail and need to make some of it back.. what a bunch of self-serving b*stards.

Give me IMAP!!

OK - so I'm being a bit silly. Basically, I think that this whole debate is stupid. AOL spends a lot of money running the IM/ICQ systems and developing enhancements to those systems. MS is basically sending more messages through those systems (hence costing AOL most money) without compensating AOL.

BTW, this has NOTHING to do with the cable debate. You have been paying the monopoly cable systems high prices for years to ensure that they have the profits to build out their cable system. YOU paid for the cable system, not TCI not Comcast, not MediaOne. They have the easiest thing in the world… a monopoly for any particular geographical area - guaranteed revenue! Now that we, the public, have built the cable system we should not have it used against us to further hike prices and restrict our access to choose our own service provider.

#64 OpenHotmail

by Anon

Saturday August 7th, 1999 11:32 AM

So let me just understand this. You think microsoft should spend TONS of money and NOT get anything back? That doesn't seem very realistic. They only become self serving b*stards when they make *tons* of profit and don't care if you suffer. You should be happy they didn't decide to start charging for use. :)

#21 Go AOL!

by Cynic

Friday July 30th, 1999 12:43 PM

Lets all consider Microsoft's wonderful contribution to the HTML 4.0 standard. They sat down, discussed it, contributed, talked, and ultimately failed completely to deliver a HTML 4.0 compliant product. So what do you think all of their talk amounts to now?

Of course, this is only *recent* history. Go back through the skeletons in their closet and you'll find more evidence of backstabbing, treachery, corruption, fraud, copying, etc. Or, as a nice euphemism for all of this, "Embrace And Extend" (a.k.a. "Resistance Is Futile, You *Will* Be Assimilated").

Not that AOL is less motivated by greed, far from it. But they at least have a better history than MS, so I count them as the lesser evil. And the last company I would *ever* trust without a contract signed in Bill's blood would be Microsoft.

AOL may actually open their protocol in the future, perhaps allowing it to be integrated into Mozilla. But Microsoft would not, and letting them get their claws into the protocol now would rob the end-users (me & you) of ever getting it into the Open. So back AOL, and fight MS, until a better solution becomes apparent.

-=Yusuf=- spews quasi-semi-pseudo-anti-MS propaganda everywhere =)

#22 Opinion: AOL/Microsoft Real-Time Messaging Debate

by Waldo

Friday July 30th, 1999 1:24 PM

A few things:

1. Jer- I'm anxiously awaiting the Jabber announcement. As a silent follower of this project for a long time, I've been anxiously anticipating a move onto the public radar..

2. Here's what AOL's response should be:


Dear Microsoft (& lackeys),

We will comply with your open standards request whan and only when:

* Microsoft releases ANYTHING close to a standards-compliant web browser.

* The file formats for Microsoft Office are given to the public as a de facto standard to facilitate use and information exchange for customers.

* Hotmail allows other clients to access it via open standards, (to benefit all our customers)

* Microsoft releases a media player which uses public and open standards

* Microsoft's Java VM is complaint in the way its contractually obligated to be.

(I'm sure you can think of more)

When these events occur, we will be convinced that the signatories are indeed proponants of open standards.

Until then, ha ha. In yo'a face!

Signed, AOL



#23 Mozilla is the real loser here

by jammjamm

Friday July 30th, 1999 1:31 PM

Mozilla had the chance a while ago to begin a high-profile and well-thought-out and integrated approach to developing an open way for chat clients to interoperate. But they blew it. A top notch cross-platform IRC client, with the option to "plug in" other clients/protocols in a transparent way was most definately the way to go.

Instead, the folks who run Mozilla kept their mouths shut as who-knows-what machinations took place behind the scenes--AOL anticipating a MS push towords chat, maybe?

NeoPlanet took over this development (supposedly), but we've heard little from them, and we doubt their intentions even more than we have come to doubt Mozilla's.

Mozilla held the promise of being on the side of open source BEFORE considering their parent companies' interests...Netscape (and AOL) were betting that the Open Source model would prove profitable. But it is now clear that they intend to hedge and try to RESTRAIN open development from moving into realms where the big players still want to stay propietary.

I DARE any Mozilla person who knows the story behind the abandonment of the chat component to come forward and tell us what happened. Who made the decision? And why was it felt that the decision HAD to be followed?

#26 MS *has* the protocol, so what's the problem?

by Anon

Friday July 30th, 1999 3:07 PM

Microsoft has a plethora of choices available for an instant messaging protocol: IRC, ntalk, TOC (the open protocol AOL authored for its Java client and TiK), OSCAR (the closed protocol AOL uses for its Windows AIM client), Jabber, and there are undoubtedly others. The question here is not "Why won't AOL let Microsoft have an open standard?" - it's "Why won't Microsoft implement ANY of the MANY EXISTING open standards on its own server?"

If Microsoft were to be honest about open standards, it would set up and deploy its *own* OSCAR server (, maybe) and release an OSCAR client that was capable of connecting to OSCAR servers belonging to anyone. Except, well, AOL is fudging around to keep clients that work well with from working with AOL's own servers. So would AOL please get with the program and use open standards?

Big happy all around in this case, I think. Microsoft can bundle MSN Messenger (which uses as much as it wants without poaching AOL's userbase or stealing money out of AOL's pockets by loading down their servers with Microsoft traffic. AOL can either respond by either releasing a version of AIM that will comply with an open standard and connect to multiple servers, or by fading away in the IM market. And the users get an IM client (from Microsoft, no less!) that will work with more than one chat service but is *NOT* a bid for a monopoly.

Not that this'll ever happen, because Microsoft has succeeded in spinning this as "open standards vs. proprietary AOL" when it is, and has always been, "AOL's private property vs. Microsoft's theft of service".

#27 Yawn.

by Anon

Friday July 30th, 1999 3:43 PM

How about we start debating DirecTV vs Dish, digital coax vs. optical cables, or DVD vs. DIVX?

All are about as relevant to mozilla as what we're arguing about now.


#31 Divx is dead, Circuit City is droping it

by Anon

Friday July 30th, 1999 8:28 PM

Read the title.

#40 Thank God! DIVX was ****.

by Kovu

Friday July 30th, 1999 11:20 PM

Ding dong, DIVX is dead!

BTW, a standard way of telling people there's no text in the message (as you did by saying "Read the title" is just adding n/t to the end of the title and putting n/t in the message (it means no text). That will save some typing, anyhow.

#28 Messenger Strife

by Anon

Friday July 30th, 1999 3:46 PM

I am not much of a microsoft fan, I will admit that upfront, but my bias I think is justified in this situation. Microsoft has continually wormed their way in to markets where they have either bullied, bought out, or sweet talked their competitors, the end result usually being a knife in the back of microsoft competitors. Because of microsoft's business practices I think Aol is justified giving them a taste of their own medicine by cutting off microsoft from their services.

#29 We know who signs your paycheck.

by Anon

Friday July 30th, 1999 5:53 PM

Let's see the logic here is a little cloudy. Since AOL has a strangle hold on the market place for IM and ICQ no body should be allowed to compete against them, AOL supported "open source" until "open source" ment that somebody was able to compete on the same field with them. Let's see, AOL buys Netscape and then makes sure to bundle every version of Netscape with IM. I know that a lot of Microsoft bashers really can bring them self to say it, but AOL is in the wrong here. As wrong as Microsoft ever was. AOL seems to fear free enterprise. ICQ was a better program than AOL IM, so they bought it. Many diehard modem jockeys would never leave compuserve to go to AOL so they bought it, then they AOL'ed Compuserve. Sorry, the real loser her is AOL.

#32 We know who signs your paycheck.

by Tekhir

Friday July 30th, 1999 8:40 PM

AOL isn't wrong and neither is MS for keeping Word Doc format closed. Microsoft and the rest can compete, but not by stealing a user base the don't own. And I'm not sure what you mean by "AOL seems to fear free enterprise." All the examples you mention are want free enterprises do, they buy out or destroy those with competing products. The thing is they want to be bought out, they could have resisted and caused a hostile takeover, which aren't too successful. But they didn't they took the cash.

ICQ may have more features but its interface sure sucks.

P.S. I use Corel WordPerfect, so I know what it feels like when you can't use something the majority of people have i.e. Word & Excel docs (the translators aren't 100%). Plus I tried out MSN Messenger and all I can say is why did they even bother making it, it isn't that great.

#35 We know who signs your paycheck.

by BehrQattz

Friday July 30th, 1999 10:27 PM

Netscape bundled AIM with Communicator long before AOL bought them. Obviously, Netscape, Apple, and Lotus have been able to work out agreements with AOL to use the AIM service. Why isn't Microsoft trying to work out a deal? Instead they're just "hacking" into AOL's servers.

#42 We know who signs your paycheck.

by Kovu

Saturday July 31st, 1999 1:52 AM

Because if M$ is successful, they can put M$IM on the Windows desktop and do to the IM market what they did with the browser market, or at least try. Luckily, I think that even if AOL did open it up, they would still retain the mass of users. AOL members are pretty loyal, for the most part. I only switched to NS because I liked the interface so much better.

AOL is launching a free ISP-branded NS in Europe, I really think it won't be long before it comes here (for a fee here, naturally) and I'll be of the first to join.

#63 love communicator but hate AIM?

by 8765309e9n

Friday August 6th, 1999 10:05 PM

you can remove AIM from your computer.

#30 Opinion: AOL/Microsoft Real-Time Messaging Debate

by Waldo

Friday July 30th, 1999 6:58 PM

. Let's see, AOL buys Netscape and then makes sure to bundle every version of Netscape with IM.


If I recall correctly, AIM was included w/Communicator before the AOL buyout...


#37 M$ Messenger

by Kovu

Friday July 30th, 1999 10:54 PM

If M$ wants to use the AIM standard they should license the stupid thing just like Netscape did. AOL has spent a fortune getting all of their 40 million AIM users and I see no reason that they should give up the rights to those eyes just because, for once, M$ has virtually no chance of catching up. Actually, I find it heartening that there are markets M$ has no prayer of dominating, and until they publish Windows as open-source I suggest they shut their stupid mouths. But I'm not bitter!

#39 ICQ better than AIM?

by Kovu

Friday July 30th, 1999 11:11 PM

I don't agree. I use both, and both have their qualities. AIM is instant and ridiculously stable. I have never had a problem signing onto AIM but ICQ once kicked me off for over two hours for no reason. Every other day I have problems with it telling me users that aren't online are, and there are so many features I don't need that it's almost impossible to find and use the ones that I do need. The thing I do like about ICQ over AIM is that it keeps a history of messages and events, making it possible to go back and find references later. But AIM has a new feature allowing you to set up a public, shared folder on your computer that external users can add to or d/l from.

I really think it's a toss-up as to which is better, although, as I said, they both have advantages. And Netscape has had AIM as part of NS since 4.5 which was released long before the buyout finally passed through this past March. There's no reason M$ can't license it, too.

And the password thing is shifty. I don't trust M$ as far as I could kick them. They made Word docs keep an identifying number that identifies the computer it originated from when users registerd Windows 98, and M$ kept that number on file but promised they weren't going to do anything with it. Like I said above, as long as M$ is getting away with a 90% plus monopoly in the OS market I don't see why AOL should give up theirs for a free product.

What do you think M$ wants to accomplish? An open standard AIM would allow M$ to add their IM to the Windows desktop and then they would take over that market as fast as they did that for browsers. Yeah, I can hardly wait! I just don't think M$ should be part of negotiations in any forum until the government is finished with them. Their credibility is shot throughout the entire industry and everything they do looks like a plot whether it is or not.

BTW, did anybody see the Southpark movie? They had this clip where a computer crashed and this general starts hollering about Windows 98 "You said Windows 98 would be faster!" and shoots Bill Gates in the head in mid-reply. Not that I think Bill should die, but it was funny as hell.

#38 Solution....

by BehrQattz

Friday July 30th, 1999 10:55 PM

Here is a suggestion... AOL currently uses MSIE as its browser for its user base, and in exchange they are "allowed" prime placement on the Windows default desktop. AOL should demand that the deal be changed so that AOL allows MIM connectivity to AIM, in exchange for the prime placement on the default desktop - dropping the MSIE requirement. MS gets access to the AIM userbase, AOL gets access to the Windows userbase. And one more nice benefit... AOL can use a Mozilla-based browser for it's users. What a wonderful way to help increase use of a *real* standards-based browser.

#41 Is LOTUS our friend?

by Anon

Friday July 30th, 1999 11:34 PM

The Lotus SameTime product is very cool and very well written. In fact, the IM part of SameTime talks to AIM users. So, arethey our friend or foe in the IM space?

#43 What Microsoft should be doing

by james

Saturday July 31st, 1999 8:27 AM

If Microsoft was really interested in what was best for the customer, it would have made a deal with AOL to allow passing of messages between each company's servers.

This way both MSNM and AIM users benefit, and the costs of maintaining the servers would be shared. The Microsoft and AOL servers could be used to test out the IETF new IM protocols, which would help everyone.

Unfortunately, we are talking about Microsoft and AOL, so this will probably never happen.

#44 Give MS the Boot!

by Anon

Saturday July 31st, 1999 9:18 AM

They should NOT be allowed to vampire AOL/ICQ in the way they are doing it... it's another blatant attempt at disrupting a well established system (think of Browser wars, Java, their shitty frontpage that manages to take all control over everything...) no it's time someone Axes MS. Though AOL is really no better at least they are closer to their customers

#45 Mac AIM

by blukens

Saturday July 31st, 1999 9:51 PM

Just to make sure everyine knows, AOL has had a Mac version of AIM for a good while now. Almost as long as the PC version, I believe. The Apple/AOL deal seems to be more of a PR move than anything else. It's speculated that it might mean Apple will start bundling AIM with their new machines, or perhaps it will even be integrated with the OS somehoow. That's all just rumor though.

#47 AOL should send out open letters ....

by veliath

Saturday July 31st, 1999 10:55 PM

In my opinion AOL should send out a bunch of open letters on whatever technologies MS is proprietary on and ask them to open it or publish it.

I feel breaking up Microsofts monopoly is more the need of the moment than AOLs. so lets just shift our attentions to that.

Perhaps its what MS is trying to do - have us focus less on its closedness.


by Anon

Sunday August 1st, 1999 12:41 AM

Sure, I think it would be cool to talk to all my freinds on one form or another of IM software, BUT Why does Microsoft think it can come in and just take over and tell the net how it should be. My personal choice is the Yahoo pager. Why didnt Microsoft want a peice of that? I know why...they want to piratize a program thats already been thought up and most of the work is done on, (I.E,Browsers,Windows,) I say AOL should stick to its guns and give Microsoft the finger.

#50 My Suggestion

by Tanyel

Sunday August 1st, 1999 4:18 AM

I think AOL and Microsoft should make a deal so that everybody gets to make software compatible with the aol instant messenger but they are all required to include AOL's advertisements, and nobody else's advertisements should be dispalyed. If Microsoft and Yahoo only care about making the chat programs compatible, then this should make everybody happy. If they're trying to steal AOL's advertising dollars then they need to stop acting like AOL is wrong. I think Microsoft is trying to take over the instant messaging so they can put their own advertisements on it rather than be the first to implement an open standard. By the way, I think Microsoft, AOL, and Yahoo all suck. I still like Netscape though.

#51 My Suggestion

by beg

Sunday August 1st, 1999 8:41 PM

Well, i hope AOL doesn't put ADs in ICQ.

I rather see AOL use ICQ in other ways to make money. AOL signed a 4 year deal with Net2Phone to intergrate those services with ICQ.

Things like this is what AOL needs to do to make money from ICQ. Not putting ADs everywhere.

p.s. does any one know if AOL will intergrate ICQ with N5.0? I really want ICQ intergrated with Netscape. Also ICQ needs a new interface bad!

#52 Opinion: AOL/Microsoft Real-Time Messaging Debate

by danielhill

Monday August 2nd, 1999 12:35 AM

AOL always have been and always will be a disgusting coropration. So is Microsoft.

However, Microsoft are part of the IETF with this IM thing, and their client is far superior and smaller to AOL or ICQ. I think Microsoft know that they must band together with all the other guys and make a standard.

And I agree. I can e-mail someone using Outlook from Eudora, for instance. Why can't I beep someone from AOL using MSN or ICQ?

#53 Opinion: AOL/Microsoft Real-Time Messaging Debate

by Anon

Monday August 2nd, 1999 12:39 AM

oops, i forgot to mention the MSN messenger is IETF standards compliant.

#56 Opinion: AOL/Microsoft Real-Time Messaging Debate

by mozineAdmin

Monday August 2nd, 1999 5:45 AM

Exactly what standard is that? Their submission to the IETF? It ain't a standard. It's just a proposal - a working draft. And it's Microsoft's proposal. Using your reasoning, AOL could submit their protocol to the IETF and call themselves standards compliant. It's simply not the case. Neither is "standards compliant" because there is no standard. It's a non-issue - a canard used to lure people to the side of MS and the other companies that want a piece of AOL's user-base without paying, or contributing *anything* to AOL in any way whatsoever.

#54 Soft

by Anon

Monday August 2nd, 1999 3:36 AM

I don't agree with AOL's tactics, but I think most companies would react in the same way. After all, you have to be pretty stupid to trust Microsoft when it comes to open standards. Actually, it's quite funny. Suddenly you see al those Microsofties complaining about monopolies and 'wrong' tactics, while they were saying a few months ago that Microsoft should have the right to 'innovate'. And if Microsoft really wants their messenger to be open, then why do I need a hotmail account to use it? And why is it only integrated with their own Outlook and Netmeeting. To me it looks like they're just interested in expanding their monopoly... but of course that's not true: they just want to 'innovate'. ;)

#55 Another Suggestion

by Tanyel

Monday August 2nd, 1999 4:34 AM

Die, Microsoft. Die.

#57 Forget Instant messaging

by megaloB

Monday August 2nd, 1999 7:02 PM

i say we just put irc channels in a nifty detachable one pane format and forget instant messaging forever. Who needs annoying beeps when you can /notice (nick) text or /ctcp yourself to death. I say AOL continues it's AIM and MS continues theirs, bickering, while something like jabber comes and steals the show. Either that or both AOL and MS open their source simultaneously to the general public and let some rogue programmers open up all roads to each other. Until then, there's always * If you want, you could even use microsofts pathetic irc client.

#58 the real problem...

by Anon

Tuesday August 3rd, 1999 4:48 AM

is that microsoft's implementation requires AOL account data to be given up by users.

i was told that the account data is transferred in *plain text* on the net. not only is this dangerous, but your account data gets stored on a microsoft server.

the other issue is that the database belongs to AOL -- at least to the point it is their gear that takes the knock.

hell, all m$ have to do is make a commercial arrangement with AOL and the problems are over.

even if there was a "open spec" for IM, it will never guarantee open-access into account databases.

#59 This is BS!

by Anon

Tuesday August 3rd, 1999 2:53 PM

This is not a standards issue at all. Let there be a standard set and then give all the worlds users a choice of using it or not.

AOL is indeed just like M$ but that doesn't mean we should support there services being pillaged by the Satan in Redmond either.

#61 Opinion: AOL/Microsoft Real-Time Messaging Debate

by danielhill

Thursday August 5th, 1999 9:38 PM

i think there needs to be a GENUINE OPEN SOURCE protocol that ALL companies agree to, and anyone can write servers and clients for.

#65 Its AOL's servers

by thelem

Tuesday August 10th, 1999 12:40 PM

As I see it AOL own the servers so AOL should write the software. If AOL want to 'rent out' server time to microsoft, then so be it, but microsoft should not be able to just take it.