AOL Opens Up AIM Phoneline, iotum Dives In

by Bruce Stewart

Very interesting news coming out of Dulles, VA this morning. AOL has announced a new developer initiative centered on its AIM Phoneline service which includes releasing APIs that will allow developers to personalize AIM Phoneline by adding unique ring and ringback tones, enable a wide variety of USB devices to work with the service, and most importantly build new call management functionality into the service.

AOL has been interesting to watch lately as it struggles with the reality that its old business model is toast, and moves like this to open up its platforms to encourage a stronger and healthier developer eco-system are certainly encouraging. A lot of analysts have noted that AOL has not done much to capitalize on its dominant position in the IM market. Time will tell if positive moves like this are going to help shape a turn-around or are simply too little too late.

One of the things that jumps out from this morning's press release is that iotum is one of the companies that will be showcased at next week's VON roll-out of AOL's new initiative and are already plugged in to what AOL is doing. This isn't surprising to me, the very smart folks at iotum have been aggressively pursuing various means of getting their intelligent call-filtering technology out there to consumers, and this is a great way to expand their reach and gain exposure for their relevance engine. We've written quite a bit about iotum before on ETel and I remain impressed and convinced that they will go far. Deals like this and things like the work they've been doing in creating an iotum Asterisk module demonstrate that they "get it". And iotum co-founder Alec Saunders regularly writes some of the most thoughtful posts on developer programs I've seen in the telecom space.

I believe this is not only a coup for iotum, but for AOL as well. They wisely chose a very relevant (sorry!) player in this space to showcase their developer launch. Jeff Pulver and Mark Evans both have some interesting analysis of iotum's role in the announcement. I'll definitely be watching closely to see how this one plays out.

Update: Ken Camp just blogged about this also, with some added insight from the players at iotum, MyNuMO and AOL, and now Alec Saunders has weighed in with the iotum perspective.