America Online and Reuters Group have reached a deal to connect their instant messaging services, offering Reuters users the ability to chat with both their financial services contacts and non-industry friends.
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The connectivity will be available in the next version of the Reuters Messaging client, which is due out in the first quarter of next year. Reuters users will be able to communicate with AOL, AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), and ICQ users, and the AOL users will be able to add Reuters users to their buddy lists.
The deal allows AOL to increase its user base, as well as show US regulatory authorities that it is being more open with its IM network.
For Reuters, the agreement lets it offer users access to one of the largest public IM networks.
Reuters' goal is to expand the reach of its users within the workflow of financial communities and the AOL deal allows them to do this, said David Gurle, Reuters' executive vice president and global head of collaboration services.
Gurle used to head up Microsoft's real-time collaboration server software programme until he left for Reuters in March. Reuters' IM product is built on the Microsoft platform.
In an interview last month, Gurle said that Reuters' messaging system had more than 260,000 registered users at more than 4,000 institutions in 120 countries. At that time, he said that interoperability was a top requirement for Reuters' clients and that the company would be working to provide it over the next six months.
AOL said it has 54% of enterprise IM users, and 10 million monthly users on its network. Its network enables the delivery of 1.5 billion messages daily.
Reuters is hoping that its partnership with AOL will give it a leg up against competitors such as Bloomberg, which is offering its own instant messaging service for the financial industry.
Meanwhile, IM security and management provider FaceTime Communications said that it was adding support for the Bloomberg instant messaging network into its IM Auditor regulatory compliance product.
Scarlet Pruitt writes for IDG News Service