AOL Aims To Cash In On Instant Messenger Success

from the but-does-anyone-want-this? dept

This isn’t the first time I’ve been confused by the massive rush by companies to hype up their “corporate” instant messaging services, but I’m still confused as to what the real advantage is for business buying such a product. The Washington Post focuses in on why AOL is desperate to make money off of instant messaging, but that misses the point. Of course they want to make money off of instant messaging – but that doesn’t answer the question of what value will businesses really get out of instant messaging. Right now, about the only thing they can offer is the ability for companies to spy on (and record) what their employees are saying over IM. That’s not a particularly compelling reason to buy – unless you want paranoid employees. Furthermore, when employees know their bosses are spying on them, it also will kill most of the advantage (informal messaging) of IM. It’s nice that AOL wants to make money off of IM, but maybe they should focus on where the real value is, instead of taking blind stabs at ways to extract cash. Update: David Coursey also has a good article weighing in on why corporate IM is bad. Most instant messaging programs already are corporate instant messaging. Making the programs set up for “official” corporate communications will only hurt the technology.

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