AOL, Apple to offer Mac messaging services

Users of Apple Macintosh computers will soon enjoy new ways to chat with their pals using America Online's Instant Messenger (AIM) service. The two companies have announced that they will collaborate on new instant-messaging products for Mac users that will allow them to exchange messages with the 40 million people already using AIM

Users of Apple Macintosh computers will soon enjoy new ways to chat with their pals using America Online's Instant Messenger (AIM) service.

The two companies have announced that they will collaborate on new instant-messaging products for Mac users that will allow them to exchange messages with the 40 million people already using AIM. Those users are sending more than 430 million messages a day, according to the companies.

"Mac users can use AOL's messaging service right now," Apple spokeswoman Rhona Hamilton said. "What this announcement is saying is that AOL and Apple will be enhancing that product, and creating new products in the messaging space. But we haven't defined what the scope of those products are."

Pricing and availability information is also yet to come, Hamilton said.

The announcement comes just days after other, less upbeat AOL messaging news. During the past week, the company blocked users of Microsoft's and Yahoo's messaging services from chatting with people using AIM, claiming security and privacy breaches.

Microsoft has provided several updated versions of its instant messenger software that allow its Microsoft Network (MSN) users to get through AOL's block, but was thwarted again yesterday and is now working on yet another update, said Deanna Sanford, lead product manager for MSN.

Microsoft, meanwhile, is working on its own Macintosh client for its MSN instant messenger software that will allow Mac users to send instant messages to others even if they aren't MSN members, Sanford said.

AOL has also blocked Yahoo's and Prodigy.'s instant messaging software from accessing AOL's, but has permitted interoperability with Lotus's Sametime messaging software.

An AOL spokeswoman did not return a call today seeking comment on the Microsoft impasse.

AOL, in Dulles, Virginia, can be reached at +1-703-448-8700 or at http://www.aol.com. Apple Computer Inc., based in Cupertino, California, can be reached at +1-408-996-1010 or at http://www.apple.com.

(Elinor Mills Abreu of the IDG News Service contributed to this report.)

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