[Air-l] What is Instant Messaging

Quentin (Gad) Jones qgjones at acm.org
Tue Dec 17 12:24:39 PST 2002

The U.S. patent office has approved the ICQ inventors' patent on their
technology for instant messaging via the Internet, HA'ARETZ reported.
The office also granted a patent on the entrepreneurs' technology for
the transmission of instant messages over cellular networks. America
Online, which bought ICQ with its owner Mirabilis in 1998 for $400
million, can file patent infringement suits against Yahoo! and Microsoft
which develop and market similar software for the transmission of
instant messages, or, alternatively, can demand the companies pay
royalties. An estimated 400 million people worldwide use instant
messaging, about 135 million of them ICQ users.

While the patent office often gets things wrong (e.g. the hoo ha about
Amazon.com's one click patent) this approval does suggest that
IM=(online awareness + buddy list + over TCP/IP protocal + messaging)
and is something relatively new. 


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