America Online (AOL) has recruited Novell to try and extend its influence into the business market in an attempt to help it fend off the threat of Microsoft in the instant messaging space.
AOL and Microsoft are currently battling it out in the online market, with instant messaging being one of the disputed platforms. As a result, AOL is now preventing users of Microsoft’s new MSN Messenger product from talking to customers of its own instant messaging services.
But under the terms of the new deal, Novell will integrate AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) with its Novell Directory Services (NDS) and the two will jointly develop and distribute cobranded instant messaging clients so that Novell’s business users can chat with people within the AOL Buddylist community. The networking giant also intends to create a cobranded business portal for customers’ staff to use.
Bob Pittman, AOL’s president and chief executive, said: "We are very pleased to extend the benefits of instant messaging into the rapidly growing enterprise market sector. With this agreement with Novell, we continue to build the world's leading instant messaging community both at home and in the workplace."
The move follows a similar deal with Lotus earlier this year, whereby the messaging supplier will provide a cobranded suite of AOL offerings to its 40 million Notes users. It has also enabled its Sametime realtime collaboration offering to talk to AIM.
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