It's been a while since there's been too much messaging news, although we've known for quite some time that AIM is one of the most popular products AOL has in its collection. Last year, we got to think quite a bit about the idea of convergence between different instant messaging products, such as those provided by Yahoo!
Today's word is definitely interesting. Microsoft's Outlook Express is a major piece of software, currently in use by scads and scores of people. Meanwhile, apparently AOL teamed up with a third party, Intellisync, in order to allow for this product, not dealing with Microsoft at all.
AOL's new software will allow Outlook users to see whether their email contacts are online and therefore accessible by AIM. Interestingly, Foolish contributor Tim Beyers wrote about the business prospects of AIM last year when he attributed instant messaging adoption to email fatigue. It makes one wonder whether AOL's latest move will make emailing just a little more tiring -- but in terms of seeing whether friends or work colleagues are actually at their computers, maybe that's in a good way.
In the meantime, though, it's an interesting move for a company that recently announced its own plans to offer free email, just like its rivals in the Internet world, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Google
Regardless, AOL continues to try to find itself -- we all know that's been the case for quite some time, and some of us may even have suggestions. This move may help AOL spread its AIM product to more users. Time Warner investors who track the AOL unit's fortunes might hope that it has more up its sleeve to further integrate its products in a way to give its products more and more pull -- and, indeed, a further reach -- with Internet users.
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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.