Aimster File-Sharing Program Runs on AOL's AIM

BOSTON (08/10/2000) - A group of programmers with a file-sharing application for America Online Inc.'s popular Instant Messenger program (AIM) may raise the stakes in the battle over interoperability between AOL and other instant messaging companies.

Aimster, developed by programmers based in Troy, New York, is a program that enables AIM users to search for and trade files like the controversial Napster MP3 music sharing program made available by Napster Inc. through its popular Web site and under assault by the recording industry. Aimster restricts searches to the Gnutella file-sharing, peer-to-peer network and the computers of other AIM users who have the Aimster add-on, according to Johnny Deep, a spokesman for the programmer group.

AOL has prevented its instant messaging program from being interoperable with other companies' messaging programs in the past. While AOL has said they do so to protect the security of its 61 million users, AOL's rivals have accused it of protecting its market dominance. In addition, AOL Wednesday shut down the MP3 file search engine on its Nullsoft Winamp music player site that enabled its users to search the Internet for music.

An AOL spokesman wasn't immediately available for comment on Aimster. [See "AOL Shuts Down Its MP3 Search Engine," August 10.]Aimster, and more details on the program, can be accessed at http://www.aimster.com/.

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