AOL Releases New Instant Messenger Software

America Online Inc. released a new version of its Instant Messaging software that includes features like stock tickers and graphics transfers. The new version of AOL's service, now available for download, allows users to watch continuously updated news and stock quotes and choose a screen name up to 16 characters in length.

The company announced it will also help users set AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) as their default messaging program.

While AOL said it has been working on the upgrade for several months, the
release counters moves made by Microsoft in the companies' war over instant messaging. Microsoft's MSN Messenger program was released last month, adding some new features and -- more importantly -- a way for non-AOL users to contact users of AOL Instant Messenger.

AOL chief operating officer Bob Pittman said that the company will be rolling
out more new features over the coming months, "to ensure that AIM continues to be the most valuable instant messaging product in cyberspace."

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