AOL Launches New IM Client

America Online, Inc., today announced the launch of the most recent upgrade to the popular AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) service with new features including live video instant messaging compatible with Apple’s popular iChat AV video conferencing application, account linking and online games. AIM version 5.5 is available today via a free download at www.aim.com .

Designed to give users a more expressive instant messaging experience, AIM’s new version offers a number of new advanced instant messaging capabilities that extend the vibrant social interaction that takes place within the AIM community. For the first time, users will have the ability to conduct live video instant messaging conversations, link up and manage multiple AIM screen names from the same session, and invite their buddies to play online games through their instant messaging connection.

The new live video instant messaging feature in AIM 5.5 is fully compatible with iChat AV 2.1, Apple’s breakthrough video conferencing technology. Now AOL users from a PC can tap into the worldwide community of iChat AV users on Macs. iChat AV 2.1, the latest version of iChat AV was released by Apple today and is available for free download at www.apple.com/ichat/ .

“With the increased popularity of instant messaging both for fun and for work, our focus is innovating so that AIM users have new advanced features that allow them to create more interactive instant messaging experiences,” said Ed Fish, Senior Vice President and General Manager, AOL Desktop Messaging. “With enhanced new features including video conferencing with both AIM users and the large community of Apple’s iChat AV users, AIM 5.5 offers additional tools to help stay in touch, be more productive and be more entertained.”

“With the introduction of iChat AV in Mac OS X ‘Panther’ and the iSight camera, Apple revolutionized the way people communicate with each other over the Internet,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Now iChat AV users can video conference with their AOL buddies around the world who use PCs.”

The AIM service is at the center of one of the largest and most active communities online. Touched by more than 50 million active users* each month and supported by a network infrastructure that handles nearly two billion instant messages each day, the AOL Instant Messenger network makes it possible for people from around the world to communicate with each other via text, audio or video all in real time, and to engage in other shared activities, such as casual gaming.

Key Features of AIM 5.5 include:

* Live Video Instant Messaging: For the first time, AIM users now have the ability to engage in live streaming video conversations with others via their instant messaging connection. With only a web cam, microphone and one click on the video button in AIM 5.5, users can start a live video/audio conversation with other AIM users from just about anywhere in the world.

* AIM Games: By clicking on the “games” button within the AIM Buddy List(r) feature, users can find and invite friends to compete in online interactive games. Not only can AIM users invite and play online games with others, but they can also instant message with those they’re playing with, making for a more interactive and competitive gaming environment.

* AIM Account Linking: With account linking, users with multiple screen names can sign onto AIM once, and have all of their screen names appear online. Users can view multiple buddy lists from a single location, choose to have all their instant messages from multiple screen names automatically forwarded to a single AIM account, and link icons, expressions and other messaging features to these different names. Users can, for example, maintain work and home personalities, family and gaming personas, all linked up to their chosen features. Account linking also works with special screen names for love.com, a new real-time personals service featuring the AOL Instant Messenger service.

Availability

AIM 5.5 is available today at www.aim.com. Video functionality is free and available to users using the Microsoft Windows XP operating system. iChat AV 2.1 Public Beta was released by Apple today and is available for free download at www.apple.com/ichat/

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