AltaVista Launches Messaging Service

On the heels of America Online’s public
resistance in following an open protocol system for instant messaging, AltaVista Co., Monday unveiled
an instant messaging service designed to be compatible with similar online services.

According to Bill Keenan, AltaVista senior director of tools, the
AltaVista Messenger service utilizes Tribal
Voice’s
PowWow technology. While that technology is compatible with AOL’s, the company has blocked users of the PowWow-based services from its network.

Keenan emphasized, however, that AOL’s resistance is not the larger
issue.

“Whether or not AOL plays ball, we feel that there is a large and
attractive market out there. Our service is the best offering available and
we intend to market that service to existing, viable audiences,” he said.

The AltaVista Messenger reflects the company’s commitment to providing
users with an product that is interoperable with other
leading services on the Internet, Rod Schrock, AltaVista president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

“Our free service provides the benefit of rich features
and multiple communication modes without imposing limitations on the users
with whom they may communicate,” Schrock said.

The product allows Internet users to
exchange messages in real-time without the use of an email inbox. Product
features include universal buddy lists and
simultaneous, real-time text and voice chat.

AltaVista and Tribal Voice are members of the FreeIM.org industry
consortium, which promotes an open protocol system for instant messaging so that users of all services can communicate with one another
despite their choice of software.

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