Feeds

AOL buddies up to enterprises with AIM release

Security comes later

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

America Online Inc yesterday made its long-anticipated foray into enterprise-grade instant messaging, with the release of an AOL Instant Messenger enterprise server and developers' kit, backed up by a support program,

writes Kevin Murphy

.

The offering boosts AOL's software division, comprised of its Strategic Business Solutions division and developers from the old iPlanet and Netscape, which will be supporting developers that choose to license the technology to build applications that use the AIM network as a presence backbone.

AIM Enterprise Gateway is the main deliverable announced yesterday. Already available, the product adds much-needed manageability to AIM services. Administrators can log, restrict, route and monitor IM message sessions and create period reports.

The server, based largely on technology from FaceTime Communications Inc, has an optional Private Domain Service with Federated Authentication, which allows users to be identified by screen names that resemble email addresses and are authenticated on the corporate directory.

The main lacking in the first release is security. Encryption is not possible in the current version of the client, though an encryption-enabled client, which uses software from VeriSign Inc, is currently under development and released as beta software.

An AOL spokesperson said a version of the client, to be released next year to consumers and enterprises alike, will come ready to work with encryption. But users will have to buy a digital certificate from VeriSign to make the feature function. Future versions of the Gateway product will also be cryptography-enabled, he said.

AOL also announced the AIM Developer Access Package and Certified Developer Program. Developers will be able to get their hands on a toolkit that allows them to build AIM presence information into their applications.

The company's web site currently reads: "Partner program license fees and royalties vary with the type and number of applications built as well as the complexity of development support and certification efforts required."

The AOL spokesperson said that the program will accept "applications from interested developers" and that only selected partners will be able to use the SDK. He said: "We would have to make sure it makes sense to us as well as them."

So it's bad news for AOL's rivals, including Microsoft and Yahoo, which would love to get their hands on a way to allow their IM users to message AIM users. These two companies would be unlikely partners in the developer program.

Currently, the systems are only interoperable with iChat, the instant messaging system sold with latest versions of Apple Computer Inc's operating system. Under a deal announced earlier this year, AOL is hosting the messaging network for iChat.

It's the first significant development in the evolution of the AIM service in some time. Around since 1997, the service boasts 180 million registered users and leads the market, though its share is being eroded by more feature-rich offerings from Microsoft Corp and Yahoo! Inc, among others.

"Increasingly, as the AIM service finds its way virally into the workplace, businesses are realizing how instant messaging and its presence technology can complement existing communication services," said AOL CEO Jon Miller,

"With Enterprise AIM Services we're providing organizations an instant messaging platform using a product that's familiar and easy-to-use with the added management and control features they want," said Miller, estimating that AIM is already used in 60% of enterprises.

Extending the free public IM networks to enterprises, where the products can start making money, is a challenge the big three players have all adopted. Yahoo has starting shipping a beta of its enterprise system, and Microsoft is developing a real-time communications platform, codenamed Greenwich, to run on Windows .NET Server 2003.

Yahoo, for one, thinks that the adoption of enterprise-grade instant messaging will drive interoperability between the public IM services, a state of affairs that has been sought by AOL's challengers for several years.

© ComputerWire

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.