iCAST and Tribal Voice to AOL: “The Block Party is Getting Old”

  • Written By: P. Hayes
  • Published: April 28 2000

iCAST iCAST and Tribal Voice to AOL: "The Block Party is Getting Old"
P. Hayes - April 28th, 2000

Event Summary

WOBURN, Mass. and DENVER (BUSINESS WIRE) - iCAST, an online entertainment company and Tribal Voice, a leading provider of co-branded instant messaging and interactive communication solutions, called on AOL to open up the company's instant messaging system. The announcement comes on the heels of AOL once again denying communication between its AIM users and other instant messaging services.

Market Impact

ICAST and Tribal Voice can complain to AOL executives vis--vis Instant Message (IM) blocking between disparate IM systems until they are blue in the face. Unfortunately for iCAST and Tribal Voice, the chances of AOL opening up their IM system are not good at all; in fact they have a better chance of seeing God. AOL has always, and will continue to block disparate Instant Messaging systems from interacting with their 50 Million plus IM user base due to a potential negative financial impact on AOL.

A large Instant Messaging user base allows the 'parent' service provider to deliver e-business advertising to a captive audience. Through placing a banner adds on the IM client's tool bar, the service provider can generate an enormous amount of revenue.

So why doesn't AOL 'open' their IM user base to interoperability with iCAST, MSN, Tribal Voice, and others? Simply put, they don't have to. No one within the industry can make AOL open their doors without the US Justice Department getting involved under a monopoly based situation. And that's just what Tribal Voice's CEO is calling AOL's Instant Messenger system, a monopolistic tool which prohibits AOL users from interacting with other IM system users on the Internet.

User Recommendations

Very simply, if you use AOL as your Instant Messenger application you are effectively able to communicate with approximately 65% (+/- 5%) of Instant Messaging users, almost negating the need for an alternate Instant Messaging client. On the flip side, if you are using any other IM client on the market, you may want to have two IM clients, one AOL IM to interact with their 50 Million plus client user base and one iCAST or MSN or Tribal Voice client to communicate with the remainder of IM users on the net. Either way, don't expect AOL to open up their IM client anytime in the near future, it will not happen (Probability 95%).

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