, Eric Hellweg reports on Apple’s recent news that its forthcoming iChat service works with AOL’s Instant Messenger technology. The new article is a Tech Investor column entitled
Apple’s New Gig.
AOL hasn’t totally cut off other companies from using AIM — Motorola has licensed it for its cell phone products, for example, and ISPs like Earthlink have licensed it too. But Hellweg noted that Apple is the first company that has been invited into AOL’s own network.
This is in stark contrast to Microsoft’s own experience with its MSN Messenger program. Microsoft also wanted to partner with AOL a couple of years ago, but AOL turned them down.
Apple’s news last week has apparently generated some bitterness at MSN. Hellweg quoted Bob Visse, director of MSN, as saying “Looks like AOL is picking out another weak stepsister to interoperate with.”
To hear representatives from Apple and AOL explain it, the decision was made because Apple’s iChat is a great product with a great customer base. But Hellweg points to a comment from one analyst who observed that unlike Microsoft, Apple doesn’t represent a threat to AOL’s business, either.
“For now, Apple can play up its first-mover advantage (while it lasts) to try to woo developers and users to OS X — an important upgrade for the company’s future as well as its short-term financials,” said Hellweg.