AOL Time Warner is moving slowly towards instant messaging interoperability, having this week fulfilled an obligation imposed by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) when the US Government approved the merger of AOL and Time Warner earlier this year.
The obligation was to provide an update on how interoperability tests were progressing within 180 days of the merger closing. The company sent an 11-page report to the FCC that said it would launch a trial later this summer.
The report was short on details and did not even name the "leading technology company" that will be involved in the trial. AOL said it did not disclose the information because it is still drafting a contract to address such issues as system performance requirements and cost sharing.
AOL used the report to reiterate its position that interoperability is not only technically difficult but fraught with security worries.
The company has long dominated the instant messaging market in the US with its AIM application. But opponents to the merger complained long and loud that AOL would not open up AIM to messages from users of similar technologies offered by Microsoft and others.
AOL promised the FCC that it would offer interoperability and the Commission imposed a ruling that it must. The Commission also said that it wanted to be kept up to date on developments on a regular basis.
Microsoft's reaction to the report was muted. "While we haven't had a chance to actually see the document, based on our understanding it doesn't offer much in terms of standardising interoperability," said a spokesperson.
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