Buddy List Wars

Jeff Bone (jbone@activerse.com)
Tue, 27 Jul 1999 21:24:59 -0500

Are you guys watching this buddy list fiasco develop? And damnitall,
those idiots at AOL are playing right into Microsoft's hands... by
cutting off access, they lend credibility to Microsoft's argument that
there actually is competition. Indeed, they succeed in making
themselves look like monopolists.

Over a year ago, in a conversation with Clay Cipione (former AOL senior
VP,) he made the statement "AOL invented buddy lists [N.B. - they
didn't, of course, bits and pieces have been around for years] and we
plan to own the whole space." I guess that's still the plan, until it
gets ripped from their hands. It's too bad that these assholes don't
understand or believe or whatever that the value isn't in the protocol,
or the pipe, or the client itself --- rather it's in the network effects
that are created by planet-wide open communications and maximizing
online user communities. But they'd rather play feudal wargames and
retard positive growth and value-creation. (For themselves, too!)

Some folks never learn. It's 1993 and e-mail all over again.

nd so much for Microsoft's committment to open standards, huh? Where's
the long-awaited and often-promised buddy list toolkit? Where're the
reference implementations, indeed, where are the specs? Where's an even
quasi-open attempt at a *defacto* standard? In fact, aside from
glomming on AOL connectivity, the app hardly looks like it's evolved at
all since I saw a sneak peak back in February '98.

I'm glad I'm out of that space. Moment of venting, thanks,