RE: AOL blocks iCast's instant messenger

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From: Mark Day (
Date: Thu Mar 02 2000 - 06:56:12 PST

> One thing is clear: AOL's control of instant messaging is pissing a lot
> of people off. The smartest people I know are presently working on
> precisely the matter of destroying AOL's stranglehold on IM

I confess that I don't understand why people get so worked up about AOL.
Multiple companies have worked out interoperation deals with AOL (Lotus,
FaceTime), and they don't get blocked. AOL's AIM infrastructure represents a
nontrivial pile of hardware and engineering (explore its rate control
mechanisms if you don't believe this). I don't see why AOL has to allow any
damn fool to use their facilities just because that fool has
reverse-engineered the protocols, any more than the phone company had to
allow phreaking.

It baffles me that more than one company would think they could get away
with this. I could understand Microsoft trying it, because they were
first -- but why would AT&T and CMGI then do it as well? Did they think
that people at MS just weren't smart enough to do the hack right? It seems
that people continue to think this is a technical issue as opposed to a
business-model issue.


Mark Day
Senior Scientist
+1 (781) 663-8310

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