FCC Gives In On AOL Instant Messaging Requirements Again
from the way-to-show-authority dept
When AOL and Time Warner first merged, some of the FCC restrictions on the deal included that AOL would be required to open up their instant messenger products so that other instant messaging products could inter-operate with it. After the merger closed, AOL basically said “right, so, we’re not going to actually do that” and the FCC said “okay, sorry we bothered you with that.” The FCC had also said that AOL would not be allowed to extend AIM by offering things like video transmission over IM, but after a petition from AOL, it appears that the FCC will ignore that rule as well. There is some rationale behind the decision – which is mainly that MSN and Yahoo have done a good job gaining marketshare in the instant messaging world, while AIM is fading. Of course, it’s still a pain for all of us who have to use multiple IM services (or one of the various apps that let you log into multiple services). What still surprises me is that all of the big IM players now seem to like the fact that they have a closed off system – paying no attention to (a) history, where email only really caught on when it stopped being specific to various systems and (b) the fact that many users are annoyed that they need to run multiple IM clients.