America Online (AOL) may soon be able to launch advanced instant messaging (IM) services, such as streaming video, if US regulators drop interoperability requirements imposed on the company as a condition of its 2001 merger with Time Warner.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said that AOL Time Warner (AOLTW) had applied for relief from the requirement that it make its IM service interoperable with other providers, on the grounds that it no longer serves the public interest, convenience and necessity because there has been a material change in the circumstance.
At the time of the FCC's approval of the AOLTW merger, the agency found that the company was likely to "dominate" IM-based services, especially advanced high-speed services, given Time Warner's cable and content properties and AOL's internet strength.
However, AOLTW has argued this has not happened as it continues to battle against competitors such as Yahoo! and Microsoft.
"The passage of time has served to show that those who predicted that a combined AOL/Time Warner would somehow dominate the internet has not come to pass," the company said.
"Rather, AOL Time Warner today is competing vigorously with others to find the right mix or content, applications and services that will appeal to consumers in a broadband world."
AOL has, however, recently launched an enterprise IM service which stands much to gain from offering video capabilities, allowing it to compete with video-armed IM rivals and as well as web conferencing providers.