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.)

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

by BehrQattz <>

Friday July 30th, 1999 10:17 PM

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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.