A small US company has launched an instant messaging (IM) product that allows websites the choice of an open or closed community.
Internet software and services company eShare, said Connections, allows any website to offer their own instant messaging service with the option of supporting the Internet Engineering Task Force's (IETF) forthcoming instant messaging standard or running their own closed proprietary community based service.
Last week, Microsoft hit out at AOL for its decision to prevent users of the newly launched MSN Messenger Service from communicating with AOL's Instant Messenger customers. (see Newswire 26 July)
The company criticised AOL for maintaining a proprietary hold on its service and called for an open, standards based approach.
In addition, at the end of last week, eight major Web email companies, including Microsoft sent a letter to AOL giving the company a week to adopt the Engineering Task Force's Instant Messaging and Presence protocol standard. (see Newswire 31 July)
Mark Swanson, Connections product manager at eShare said the company is offering an alternative perspective on the IM debate - choice.
"The debate is being defined as the will of the masses versus the will of proprietary Internet sites, yet this may not be entirely accurate."
He explained: "Picture a scenario where a site (large or small) wants to create a branded community exclusive to its members such as a niche sports site. Community exclusivity in this example is actually something that may be supported by the people."
"Connections gives these sites freedom of choice to either open up or close their community. When instant messaging is used within a corporate intranet, no one questions that the system is closed. It should be no different for websites that want to create a similar proprietary community of users," said Swanson.
According to research company Gartner Group, by the end of 2001, at least 70 per cent of users inside corporations will use instant messaging.
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