Instant messaging became a federal regulatory issue in the AOLTW Merger proceeding. In that proceeding, parties petitioned the FCC to impose an interoperability requirement on AOL. They argued that attempts at open interoperability standards had failed and that AOL was intentionally obstructing such efforts. The FCC, under the leadership of Chairman Kennard (democrat), for the first time exercising its jurisdiction over an Internet application, declined to immediately impose interoperability obligations on AOLTW. However, the FCC indicated that AOL would be required to make IM interoperable for future applications. These safeguards expire five (5) years after the date of release of the Order. (Order was released on January 22, 2001; therefore the safeguards expire on January 22, 2006). According to an FCC Public Notice:Given AOL Time Warner's likely domination of the potentially competitive business of new, IM- based services, especially advanced, IM-based high-speed services ("AIHS") applications such as videoconferencing, the Commission concluded that a condition to prevent that merger-specific harm was merited. AOL Time Warner may not offer an AIHS application that includes the transmission and reception, utilizing a names and presence directory ("NPD") over the Internet Protocol path of AOL Time Warner broadband facilities, of one- or two-way streaming video communication using NPD protocols including live images or tape that are new features, functions, and enhancements beyond those offered in current offerings such as AIM 4.1 or ICQ 2000b, unless and until AOL Time Warner has successfully demonstrated it has complied with one of the following grounds for relief.
Grounds for Relief.
Option One. AOL Time Warner may file a petition demonstrating that it has implemented a standard for server-to-server interoperability of NPD-based services that has been promulgated by the IETF or a widely recognized standard-setting body that is recognized as complying with National Institute of Standard Testing or Industry Standard Organization requirements for a standard setting body. At a minimum, AOL Time Warner must demonstrate that the adopted protocol makes available to another provider of NPD-based services such data in AOL Time Warner's NPD(s) as will enable the other provider's users to know the addresses of AOL Time Warner users and detect their presence online, to the same extent that AOL Time Warner's users know each others' addresses and detect each others' presence online. AOL Time Warner must also demonstrate that the protocol makes available to other IM providers any other information used by AOL Time Warner to implement and process transaction of AIHS services, to the extent allowed by law. The adopted standard shall also ensure that AOL Time Warner shall afford the same quality and speed in processing transactions to and from the other provider as it affords to its own transactions of the same type. Other than specifying server-to-server interoperability as described above, we do not set any technical criteria for interoperability.
Option Two. AOL may file a petition demonstrating that it has entered into written contracts providing for server-to-server interoperability with significant, unaffiliated, actual or potential competing providers of NPD-based services offered to the public AOL must execute the first such contract prior to offering the video AIHS service described above. After AOL Time Warner executes the first contract, an officer of AOL Time Warner shall certify to the Commission that it is prepared to promptly negotiate in good faith, with any other requesting provider of NPD-based services. Within 180 days of executing the first contract, AOL must demonstrate that it has entered into two additional contracts with significant, unaffiliated, actual or potential competing providers. The interoperability achieved under these contracts shall be identical to that described under Option 1 above with identical terms and conditions for technical interoperability. All parties to a contract shall agree not to alter the technical
protocol without the consent of all parties providing interoperable IM services under these agreements. The contracts may contain different provisions for business considerations. AOL Time Warner must submit copies of these agreements for server-to-server interoperability into the record of this proceeding within 10 days of execution of such agreement. AOL Time Warner may redact any proprietary information or terms not related to technical interoperability.
Option Three. AOL Time Warner may seek relief from the condition on offering AIHS video services by filing a petition demonstrating that imposition of the condition no longer serves the public interest, convenience and necessity because there has been a material change in circumstance, including new evidence that renders the condition on offering AIHS video services no longer necessary in the public interest,
convenience, and necessity. If AOL Time Warner proffers market share information as evidence that the condition no longer is necessary in the public interest, convenience, and necessity, AOL Time Warner must demonstrate that it has not been a dominant provider of NPD services for at least four (4) consecutive months. Procedure for Submission of Petition to the Commission. To receive authorization to offer AIHS
video services pursuant to Options 1-3 above, AOL Time Warner shall submit a Petition to the Commission. The Petition shall be filed with the Secretary's office and shall contain the factual and legal bases demonstrating satisfaction of one of the three options set forth above. The Commission shall put the Petition out for Notice and Comment with a maximum of 30 days for receipt of such comments. Petitioner may submit
a reply not more than 15 days after the closure of the comment period. Upon the timely filing of Petitioner's reply, the Petition, comments and reply shall be submitted to the Commission for disposition. The Commission shall issue its findings and conclusions not more than 60 days after receipt of the matter. This timeline may be altered at the discretion of the Commission upon a timely submitted request of the Petitioner. The findings of the Commission shall be made upon clear and convincing evidence, and in the absence of such an evidentiary showing, the condition shall not be eliminated.
Reporting Requirement. The Commission shall require AOL Time Warner to file a progress report with the Commission, 180 days after the release of the Order and every 180 days thereafter, describing in technical depth, the actions it has taken to achieve interoperability of its IM offerings and others' IM offerings. Such reports will be placed on public notice for comment. Any confidential or proprietary information contained in the reports may be submitted to the Commission pursuant to the terms of the protective order in this proceeding.
Enforcement. The Commission shall retain jurisdiction over the licensees or their successors for the purpose of enforcing the terms of this condition, for a period not to exceed five years. The terms of this condition shall be enforced pursuant to the Commission's powers under the Communication Act. Any party to the Order, or their successor in interest, may petition this Commission at any time for relief from the condition
on offering AIHS video services imposed pursuant to the Order. In the event that any person wishes to bring to us a dispute about AOL's compliance with this condition, the Commission shall require that the following procedures be followed. These procedures are designed to resolve any disputes within sixty (60) days of the first filing. Within twenty (20) days after public notice is given of either the filing of a complaint or a showing by AOL Time Warner, any interested party shall file a response (AOL Time Warner's answer to the complaint, another person's response to AOL Time Warner's alleged showing). Within ten (10) days after the filing of the responses, the party that made the first filing may file its reply The complainant and AOL Time Warner shall each, with its first filing, furnish a detailed report, technical or otherwise, describing the conduct or events that are the subject of the filing. All these filings shall be made with the Commission Secretary and shall be concurrently served on the Chief, Cable Service Bureau. The complaint or showing, as the case may be, shall be dismissed or sustained within sixty (60) days of its filing.
Sunset. Five (5) years after the date of release of the Order, the condition set forth in the preceding paragraphs shall expire and shall not restrain AOL Time Warner from offering video AIHS.
DOCKET 00-30 MO&O Order August 20, 2003 Public Notice
AOLTW Merger Proceeding
- Free IM (arguing that AOL should be forced to make IM services open and interoperable)
- Icast FCC Filing in AOL TW Merger Proceeding
- Internet Engineering Task Force IM and Presence Protocol (impp) Working Group
- IEFT Simple WG
Select Companies (from the early 2000s)
- 2Way Corporation
- AOL AIM
- Cleartext "A secure manageable IM Solution"
- Comverse total messaging suite
- CTI2 comprehensive unified messaging system
- Ecrio "Rich Instant Messaging Platform enables presence, availability, and location detection across all devices and platforms"
- Factime "IM Products for Business"
- IPlanet (division of SUN)
- Jabber "Open XML based IM and presence management solutions"
- Lotus Messaging (IBM)
- MSN Messenger (Microsoft)
- Message Vine IM for desktop, wireless WAP i-mode and SMS messaging
- Netlert "Business Grade Instant Messaging"
- OZ "Instant Communications solutions for wireless operators."
- Wiredred "The Leader in Secure IM for Business."
- Yahoo Messenger
- Instant Messenger Services Brace for Google's Entry, Clickz August 2005
- Tech Stats at Business Week Online (citing The Yankee Group's 2004 Technologically Advanced Family Survey)
- Mobile IM Usage Nearly Doubles, eWeek 9/7/2004
- Pew Internet, How Americans are Using Instant Messaging (Sept 2004).
- 42% of internet users—more than 53 million American adults—report using instant
messaging. There has been modest growth in the overall IM population since the
Project first started tracking it in April 2000. At that point, about 41 million adults
used IM, so the growth rate of the IM population is around 29%. On a typical day, 12% of internet users (or 29% of those who use IM) instant message with others. That translates into just under 13 million people using IM on any given day and constitutes a growth rate of about 9% since April 2000. p. 2
- Some 21% of IM users, or approximately 11 million American adults, use instant
messaging at work. At the same time, 77% of IM users use their instant messaging
programs at home. p. 3.
- comScore Media Metrix data : IM applications used by individuals who did IM during July 2004 (p.4)
- AOL IM (proprietary service for AOL subs) used by 37% of individuals who did IM
- Yahoo! 33%
- AIM (AOL) 31%
- MSN 25%
- ICQ 6%
- PalTalk 1%
- Trillian 1%
- Yankee Group forecasts that SMS users to increase from 25 million in mid-2003 to 74 million in 2007 Source: The Yankee Group's NA Messaging Conference, September 16, 2003
- Over 1 billion SMS messages sent by Swedes, NUA 5/29/02
- Over 5 billion text messages sent in UK in 2002, NUA 5/24/02
- "United Kingdom, SMS messaging is growing more and more popular. Over 6 billion text messages were sent in 2000, and over 12 billion in 2001." OECD Background Paper For the OECD Workshop on SPAM DSTI/ICCP(2003)10/FINAL page 11 Jan 22, 2004
- Instant Messaging Has Gone to Work Cyberatlas
- Newsbytes: Instant messaging increases in the workplace March 20, 2002
© Cybertelecom ::
Do the IM Protocol Wars Even Matter?, CircleID 9/25/2008 Microsoft and Yahoo to link up messaging, FT 7/18/2006 AOL IM 'Away' message flaw deemed critical, NW Fusion 8/9/2004 Yahoo walls out Trillian, CNET 9/26/03 AOL IM features get FCC nod, CNET 7/16/03 AOL unveils new IM program, CNET 7/2/03 AT&T offers phone with e-mail, IM, CNET 8/4/03 IM from anywhere in your house, MSNBC 5/21/03 Microsoft to launch IM server, Inquirer 4/11/03 IM knocks on enterprise doors, CNET 4/11/03 Yahoo pushes enterprise IM, CNET 4/11/03 IM Experts: Do The Homework, Internet News 2/26/03 IM compatibility closer to reality CNET 11/3/02 AOL Links Instant Messenger with ICQ Tech Market 10/30/02 AOL IM and ICQ to interoperate, at last Register 10/30/02 IETF tames IM NWFusion 10/21/02 IM Gaining Popularity In The Enterprise, IMPlanet 9/26/02 IM giants told to work it out, CNET 9/13/02 Open IM fight all but dead, CNET 5/13/02 AIM Today Gets Hacked, IMPlanet 4/29/02 Sprint releases enterprise IM, CW 4/29/02 Instant messages, intercepted messages, USA Today 4/15/02 Companies may now monitor employees' instant messages, Nando 4/15/02 IM To Help Boost Telcos' Revenues, IMPlanet 3/4/02 IM Upstart To AOL: We're Baaack , CNET 2/22/02 Kinks and clashes roil IM waters , CNET 2/20/02 IM Start-Up Risks Wrath Of AOL , cnet 2/20/02 AOL Keeps IM To Itself, ASP News 2/6/02 Messaging Services Vexed By Interoperability Issues, Com Con 2/1/02 AOL Blocks Instant Messaging Start-Up, CNET 2/1/02 IM a Threat?, NWFusion 1/14/02 Commentary: IM interoperability remains in AOL's hands, CNET 2/7/01 AOL's IM Client Spreads Even Further, Implanet 12/14/01 Wall Street blocks IM traffic flow, CW 11/23/01 Study: Instant messaging at work jumps 110%, CW 11/15/01 AOL, Sun Get Buddy, Buddy, ZDNet 10/25/01 Free IM To Be Common In Companies, IMPlanet 10/16/01 IM Wars Set To Re-Ignite?, INews 10/12/01 AOL Instant Messaging Test With IBM Draws Criticism, Newsfactor 8/17/01 AOL, Lotus to conduct IM interoperability tests, CW 8/15/01 Interoperability Finally Coming To IM?, ABC 8/24/01 Why isn't instant messaging technology taking off?, NWFusion 8/10/01 AOL's New Instant Message: Synergy, Wash Post 8/3/01 AOL To Detail IM Plans, CNET 7/24/01 AOL May Come Up Short in IM Battle, Newsfactor 7/24/01 Messaging rivals can't connect, CNET 6/8/01 Messaging Battles Recall Browser Wars, CNET 6/8/01 Forrester: IM Needs A Single Network Oct 12, 2000 newsbytes Instant messaging could change usatoday Report: AOL Likely 'Instant' Winner Aug 22, 2000 nypost Analysts: AOL Looks Safe On Instant Messaging Aug 25, 2000 excite Regulators not likely to force opening of AOL's instant messaging Aug 22, 2000 usatoday FTC unlikely to use messaging against AOL Time Warner Aug 22, 2000 cnet Regulators Can't Force End to Instant-Messaging Conflict Aug 25, 2000 washtech IM Standard: Ready, AIM? Fire! Aug 18, 2000 msnbc Imici is newest instant messenger blocked by AOL Aug 18, 2000 nwfusion Update: FreeIM challenges AOL's testimony on instant messaging 08/09/00 12:03 PM ET ComputerWorld Aug 9 AOL Out Of IM Standard Bake-Off Aug 3, 2000 infoworld Instant Messaging Community Asks AOL To "Tear Down the Wall" July 27, 2000 washtech FCC Gets AOLs Message on Chat ZDNet 6/28 AOL: IM Interoperability Is A Non-Issue InternetNews 6/28 AOL announces support of messaging standard NandoTimes 6/16 America Online's Instant Messaging Under Merger Scrutiny WashTech 6/15 FTC to AOL: IM Watching You ZDNET 6/15 To Merge, AOL May Have to Play Nice Over IM Time 6/15 AOL to Present Instant Messaging Proposal 'Soon' Excite 6/15 AOL blocks another instant messaging rival C|NET 6/12 AOL Instant Messaging Proposal Falls Flat InternetNews 6/16 AOL Will Offer IM-Sharing Plan The Standard 6/16 AOL Rival Asks FCC Action On IM ZDNet 4/26 Tribal Voice calls on FCC to remedy AOL IM issue ZDNet 4/26 ISPs call on FCC to ensure open access to AOL Instant Messenger ComputerWorld 4/26
AOL instant messaging rivals file complaint with FCC C|NET 4/26