AOL AIMs For More Pros

AOL expanded its America Online Instant Messenger (AIM) arsenal this week, adding new Open AIM tools and a new beta of AIM Pro service, Professional Edition (AIM Pro).

Launched earlier this year to help grow the AIM developer community, the Open AIM initiative now provides software development kits (SDK)   that allow developers to build their own AIM plug-ins and AIM clients.

Originally, the SDK was only available to Microsoft Windows users, but AOL has expanded the platform to support Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft’s Pocket PC platform and the Java   language.

AOL is also adding a new feature to Open AIM, supporting AIM bots that let developers create AIM screen names that will automatically respond to inbound instant messages.

AIM bots have been commercially deployed to date in a number of scenarios, including video gaming and Major League Baseball.

Open AIM developers will have the opportunity to leverage PC-to-PC and multi-party voice chat in their custom-built AIM client.

AOL said there are more than 45,000 developers working with the SDK from Open AIM.

AOL is also advancing its AIM Pro initiative with the release of the first public beta of AIM Pro.

AIM Pro is being developing by AOL in partnership with WebEx, and melds AOL’s Triton instant messaging client with WebEx’ collaboration features.

Unlike the public AIM Triton client, AIM Pro does not have any advertising in the user interface. It also provides the ability to use e-mail addresses as screen names.

AOL claims AIM Pro provides seamless integration with the Microsoft Outlook Client, which enables users to handle IM within the e-mail client.

During the public beta, AOL is offering AIM Pro for free to testers, though once the service is live usage will be sold as a subscription.

AOL said it plans to keep the momentum rolling next week with Enterprise Instant Messaging (EIM) Edition, an AIM Pro beta for big businesses that offers better administrative controls.

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