Windows AIM users finally join Apple’s iChat AV party eight months after it started

“AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) users can now establish live video streaming conversations with iChat Macintosh users, thanks to an AIM software upgrade released by America Online Inc. Thursday,” Juan Carlos Perez reports for IDG News Service. “Version 5.5 of AIM for the first time lets users conduct live video streaming conversations using their AIM connection, provided they have a Web cam, a microphone and a PC running the Windows XP operating system, said Jamie Odell, director of AOL’s instant messaging product marketing.”

“This feature is compatible with Apple Computer Inc.’s iChat AV 2.1 instant messaging service, which means AIM Windows PC users will be able to establish live video streaming conversations with iChat Macintosh users. iChat and AIM users already had the ability to exchange text instant messages. The iChat service is hosted on the AIM network, so the link between the two doesn’t require an external network bridge,” Perez reports. “Adding this video streaming feature and extending it to Macintosh users makes this ‘a fairly significant AIM upgrade,’ said Michael Osterman, president of Osterman Research Inc., which focuses on the messaging market.” Full article here.

Macintosh users have had the ability to chat with high-quality video and audio since June 2003 when Apple released iChat AV public beta. More information about Apple’s iChat AV here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple leads. Wintel follows. As usual. But, by reading the Associated Press report below, Joe Sixpack Whatsamac wouldn’t know a thing about the eight month lead or that AOL is tying into Apple’s already-exisiting iChat AV community. Contrast our headline with this from AP:

Apple Computer Inc. released a new version of its iChat software Thursday so Macintosh users can now do video chats with America Online subscribers who have Windows-based PCs. The move is the latest example of Apple expanding beyond its enclosed world of Macintosh owners. Last month, Apple signed a deal allowing Hewlett-Packard Co. to bundle its iTunes digital jukebox software with HP’s Windows-based PCs.

Apple users already can do instant messaging with AOL users, but using only text. The new iChat AV 2.1 version adds videoconferencing support for AOL’s latest version of its instant-messaging program, AIM 5.5, also launched Thursday. That means iChat users are no longer confined to face-to-face talks with only users of Macintosh’s OS X Panther


  1. >> Apple leads. Wintel follows. As usual.

    That’s ridiculous. Yahoo instant messenger has had streaming video for a long time… even for (gasp!) Windows users. So what if AOL finally made their service compatible with iChat? You’re not *really* going to belittle AOL for broadening the network of potential users for their product, are you?

    It’s this type of slanted analysis that makes me question your independence and journalistic integrity.

  2. Hey, MDN is right though. I don’t think it was intentional, but look at their choice in words:

    “so Macintosh users can now do video chats with America Online subscribers”

    The articles makes it sound as if the AIM client had been able to do video conferencing for a while and iChat AV 2.1 is finally able to do video conferencing too. But anyhow. Like I said, it doesn’t seem intentional, but there is a negative feel to the article when it discussing the Apple side of things. All in all, I’m just happy we’re compatible with a PC “standard” now.


  3. With reporters from the Age of 40-75 have a anti-Apple approach. Makes you wonder if it’s because of the past decisions that Apple has made. I would suggest to just get over it man it was in the past Apple is moving into a open source it’s Microsoft who’s closing the gates (no pun attended) on technology advancements.

  4. Hey! On my excite home page two out of the eight top headlines for Technology News concern Apple!! The above article which could have been more pro-Apple but which I didn’t feel was really anti-Apple at all, and a pretty good review of the iLife Suite.

    Keep it up Apple!!! We will open some peoples eyes yet!

  5. “…iChat users are no longer confined to face-to-face talks with only users of Macintosh’s OS X Panther…”

    Gee, and here I thought I was running iChat AV on Jaguar.

    Guess I inadvertently enabled the Mother of all Software Upgrades… ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  6. “…Yahoo instant messenger has had streaming video for a long time…”

    WHAT A JOKE! Have you ever used it, you idiot? Holy crap, the zombies are out this morning.

    And when did MDN ever claim to be independent? This is a news site for Mac fans. Get over it. I guess AP should be renamed MS-AP, eh?

  7. MDN wrote the headline they did to make a point. That AP article is ridiculous. Like Intel pretending they are bringing the world Wi-Fi years and years and years after Apple launched Airport. Wintel fools, ignorance is bliss.

  8. I agree with MDN, that AP article makes it look like Apple is catching up to AOL but it’s really the other way around. However, to AOL’s credit, yes, until this past summer or early fall they were not allowed to offer video conferencing.

  9. Well even if Yahoo messenger’s video chat sucked, it still existed before iChat. So did MSN’s messenger. I don’t think this is Mac leading and Wintel following. It’s Mac getting it right and Wintel playing catch-up.

    And yes, AIM would have had something similar long before this, but were restricted from doing so by the government.

    That being said, the AP article is horribly written and deceptive. Where are the editors? It’s not like the actual facts are that difficult to dig up in this case.

  10. >> And when did MDN ever claim to be independent? This is a news site for Mac fans. Get over it.

    I’m a Mac fan, so I’d like to see MDN maintain some credibility, please. All too often this site does a disservice to the Mac community by portraying us as a frothing band of loonies with a chip the size of Redmond on our shoulder. I love using great products, and I don’t mind feeling smug about the choices I’ve made– I just don’t see how I benefit from all this “oh the world is unfair” whining, or worse, the “we’re better than you nyah nyah” finger pointing.

    In this case, MDN is going out of its way to pick a fight with AOL for, of all things, making their product compatibile with the Mac! Is AOL’s making video-enabled AIM compatible with iChat really an example of Apple leading and Wintel following?

  11. Hey, have any of you tried AIM 5.5 for Windows? I finally got it to work with a Mac in the same office. The interface is absolute crap compared to the elegance of iChat AV. Poor Windows folks.

    I use the Logitech 4000 USB camera with mic on the Windows machine with AIM. It works fine. Audio quality is weak but picture is good in low light; better than iSight.

    However, that AIM interface!! Yeeesh.

    These Apple Stores really make sense because Windows folks can actually see what they’re missing. And they’re missing plenty.

  12. >> Obviously, MDN is picking a fight with AP’s reporting, not AOL. Can you read, MakesmeSickSick?

    Sure, I can read. Maybe I can use your enlightenment, though. Explain how the headline:
    “Windows AIM users finally join Apple’s iChat AV party eight months after it started”

    and the quote:
    “Apple leads. Wintel follows. As usual.”

    are critical of AP’s reporting. To me, these sound critical of AOL for making their product compatible with the Mac.

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