TMCnet News

AOL Takes AIM at Skype, Others
[August 03, 2006]

AOL Takes AIM at Skype, Others

TMCnet Executive Editor

As part of its newly unveiled strategy to shift away from its shrinking access business into more subscription-based and advertising-related revenue streams, AOL plans to open up the application programming interface (API) of its recently introduced AIM Phoneline service to third-party developers, TMCnet has learned.


AIM Phoneline, a free service that enables AOL Instant Messenger users to receive incoming phone calls from ordinary landlines, was introduced by the Time Warner subsidiary in May. The company plans to make the announcement to open up the API next week at the 3rd Annual VoIP Developer Conference, which is scheduled to kick off Aug. 8-10, at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara, Calif.


The decision to open the AIM Phoneline platform, which will be folded into the Open AIM Developer program, mirrors similar moves undertaken last year by Skype and is being warmly greeted by industry analysts.


“I think we are starting to see the fruits of the developer ecosystem,” said Will Stofega, VoIP analyst at IDC. “Having other people develop stuff for you and being able to plug that thing into your current platform is great. It's really important. You just can't rely on your internal team some times. You need to think about it.”


Still, although other competing applications like Skype (News - Alert) and GoogleTalk may have a slight time-to-market advantage, Stofega doesn’t believe AIM is late to the party. “If you look at Skype and MSN, I don't think so.  If you look at Google (News - Alert) which are laggards, I don't think so.  I think the time is right to look at what people can do on getting people online,” the IDC analyst explained.


That’s because much of Skype’s efforts have been directed toward business professionals. And Microsoft (News - Alert) continues to court enterprise and their users. In that regard, AOL is still firmly entrenched in the consumer market, according to Stofega.


AOL is scheduled to give two presentations on the new Open AIM Phoneline Developer platform at the VoIP Developer Conference. Ragui Kamel, Sr. Vice President & General Manager, AOL Voice Services, AOL, is scheduled to speak Wednesday, Aug. 9, from 10:00-10:45 a.m. PT. In addition, Alex Quilici, VP, AOL Voice Services, AOL; David Trueman, Sr. Technical Director, AOL Voice Services, AOL; and Greg Cypes, Sr. Software Engineer, AIM, AOL, are schedule to speak on the same day from 11:00-11:45 a.m. PT.


Session descriptions as well as the full program guide can be found on the official event Web site.




Robert Liu is Executive Editor at TMCnet. Previously, he was Executive Editor at Jupitermedia and has also written for CNN, A&E, Dow Jones and Bloomberg. For more articles, please visit Robert Liu's columnist page.

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