AOL Rethinks Enterprise IM Strategy

America Online is shying away from the enterprise instant messaging market, leaving corporate real-time communications to the likes of IBM and Microsoft.

On Tuesday, AOL announced that customers who are currently using AIM Enterprise Gateway product will be migrated to IMlogic's IM Manager solution, signaling the beginning of a wider initiative to shift the burden of enterprise software development onto certified partners.

AOL will continue to deliver AIM Business Services to its clients, while working out integration agreements with ISV's to weave the AIM network into everyday business applications. Partners such as IMlogic will deliver presence awareness and other advanced features to the AIM platform, according to the company.

"Our agreement to migrate the AIM Enterprise Gateway customers to IMlogic's AIM certified solutions reflects the evolution of the enterprise instant messaging market," said Edmund Fish, AOL's Senior Vice President and General Manager of Desktop Messaging.

"Going forward, we will deliver AIM Business Services directly to tens of millions of 'at work' AIM users while working with certified software partners like IMlogic to extend our reach in the enterprise IM market and meet the real-time communication needs of companies large and small."

America Online is not alone in its shifting assessment of the IM landscape. In a related announcement, Yahoo! has ceased development of its own enterprise instant messaging client.

Meanwhile, industry giants including Microsoft and IBM are placing their chips on real time communications. Microsoft's Office Live Communications Server 2005, formerly code-named Vienna, federates presence awareness between organizations and extends IM capabilities outside of the firewall through advanced user authentication.

Not one to be outdone, Big Blue has deeply embedded SameTime, its enterprise IM client, into an upcoming release of its Notes/Domino suite. Notes/Domino 7.0 integrates Sametime into Calendar and Scheduling, To Do, Team Rooms, Discussions, Personal Address Book, and Domino Directory.

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