On July 19th AOL rolled out its new AIM Pro service, which is available for download at www.aol.com/aimpro. This feature-rich version of the popular AIM service is designed for individuals, workgroups and small to mid-sized businesses, and makes it easy to communicate with colleagues, vendors and customers in real time.
Recommended Competitive Responses
Messaging competitors in general should have already taken steps on interconnections, given the connection trends that have occurred over the past year. Competitors should review their service platform and looking at ways to interface their IM with other applications as this will be increasingly needed to remain viable in the market.
IBM can note that in January 2006 it added to its Lotus Sametime to provide clients the ability to communicate with other IM platforms, including AOL, Google Talk and Yahoo!. It can also market its enhancements in audio and video conferencing integration.
Microsoft should continue to push forward with its own development efforts, demonstrating its ability to integrate messaging into a full complement of communication services for enterprise users.Further, it should play up in marketing future plans and potential integration with applications and other user business processes.
Recommended End User/Customer Responses
For businesses looking to gain greater control over their employee's use of instant messaging, this is a compelling offer with a wide selection of features and the unbeatable price point of free. Users will want to inquire with other messaging providers to compare their needs against feature/functionality. Ensuring added security may be a key differentiator noting that AOL's anti-virus is a good first step, but may not fully address all of a user's security protection needs.