AOL Adds Collaboration to AIM

By Scott Ferguson  |  Posted 2006-07-19 Print this article Print

AOL looks to capture part of the enterprise market with free and premium versions of a new IM service that includes collaboration tools from WebEx.

AOL has launched its much-anticipated AIM Pro service—and the company is offering it for free with an eye toward capturing a bigger piece of the business market.

In the new instant messaging service, the company is offering its popular IM client software combined with WebEx Communications collaboration tools in order to appeal to a broad range of businesses and individuals.

Besides individual users who mainly use IM for keeping in touch with friends and family, the new AIM Pro is designed to grab a part of the business marketplace that has begun to rely more and more on this type of communication between employees, Brian Curry, vice president of Business Services at AOL, told eWEEK.

"At work, we are seeing growth areas for real-time collaboration and more and more companies are coming online with these services," Curry said. "Online meetings are a very large growth area in the market. AIM Pro is a way to reduce costs and boost productivity."

AOL, based in Dulles, Va., and WebEx, in Santa Clara, Calif., announced in February that the companies were developing an instant messaging and collaboration package aimed at professionals.

Several analysts suggested that by partnering with WebEx, AOL is looking to attract an enterprise audience to go with the SMBs (small and midsize businesses) and individuals that already are using its IM.

Although "enterprise IM" was once considered a failure, business-oriented messaging systems have made a comeback in recent years as AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo and IBM are all making a push into the market.

Now, some 135 million workers at 85 percent of all North American companies use an IM system at work, according to research by the Radicati Group, of Palo Alto, Calif.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: AOL Launches AIM Pro Service


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