AOL and Scient to move into business services

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AOL and Scient to move into business services

New York IT consulting firm Scient has partnered with AOL Time Warner to develop and sell services in the business services market using America Online's instant messaging (IM) platform and secure e-mail system, Scient said.

The companies will work together to co-market and sell a package of Scient's business solutions along with business and financial services based on AOL technologies, Scient spokeswoman Diana Butler confirmed.

With huge losses, including a massive net loss of $54.2bn (£36.8bn) in the first quarter of the year, AOL chief executive officer Richard Parsons promised at last month's annual stockholders' meeting to boost the performance of AOL as part of a major effort to bring the merged company to profitability.

With that in mind, AOL has been quietly staking out plans to generate revenue by focusing on the business services market, a sector already well covered by AOL rival Microsoft.

AOL's consumer IM product, AIM, with some 34 million users, has provided strong competition for Microsoft's MSN Messenger in the consumer market and, with Scient's help, could possibly challenge Microsoft in the business services market.

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