America Online has released Enterprise AIM, a version of its instant messaging product targeted at the corporate market. The Enterprise AIM Services suite is designed to allow corporations to manage IM activity on their own without their customers having to access outside servers. The product can also be integrated with Apple Computer's iChat software.
AOL Time Warner Inc. has been allowing some users of its AOL and ICQ messaging services to send messages to each other for the first time as part of an experiment to no longer treat the programs as separate services. The two IM services have served different audiences and as such, subscribers have been unable to send messages between the two free services even though the same company owns both programs. AOL Time Warner is conducting a limited test to gauge demand for connecting the two and to refine the technology.
Enterprise AIM allows enterprises to manage and control AIM service communications via the AIM Enterprise Gateway and deploy AIM service on the desktop. Enterprise AIM allows clients to: restrict use of instant messaging by all or part of the employee population; enable security to help guarantee the identity of users and compatibility with existing virus checking software; establish centralized management to maintain consistent user identities across corporate communication tools; provide logging and auditing services to copy and store messages for subsequent auditing by keyword, patterns, date ranges, and names; and ensure reliability for dependable, continuous service. VeriSign Inc provides security for the enterprise instant messaging systems and hopes to see a boost in its digital certificate business as a result. VeriSign charges $14.95 a year for individual "Class 1" certificates, but pricing for enterprises varies by volume and by what services they buy. AOL has not yet fixed, or announced, pricing for its secure IM.