Money Matters - Simplified

AOL Uses Refurbished Software to Woo Customers

AOL, the American online service provider, bulletin board system, and media company operated by Time Warner, has aforethought to initiate a new adaptation of its software, which will allow its users to access their e-mail, instant messaging, search, and media on the same screen.

AOL had earlier announced that it will soon be providing most of its services for free in order to hook more online advertisements. The new software, dubbed as ‘OpenRide’ backs up those announcements.

The company said that the new software will let the users check mails from two rivals like Yahoo and Google at the same time, and is an entirely different approach to woo customers.

After making its services free, AOL now intents to hook users by using OpenRide as bait. It aims to make its customers use other functions like photo viewing and listening to music collection stored on the PC using the new software.

In the traditional Web browsers, the users have to open several windows to view different pages. But with the new software of AOL, the main window will be split into four panes, allowing the user to view as many as four pages at the same time.

Besides the four panes for e-mail, instant messaging, video, and general Web browsing, it also has a prominent search box that is tied to AOL's search engine.

Depending upon what a user is doing at the moment, the panes resize themselves and let the person focus on one thing, giving a bird’s view to all the other major tasks. Earlier software’s of AOL required the users to sign-up, the new software however, doesn’t need any signing up, unless in the case of opening e-mail accounts.

OpenRide will operate in Windows XP and require a service Pack 2. AOL is planning a version for the upcoming Windows Vista. It will also offer a Vista version of OpenRide's predecessor, AOL 9.0.

Based in Dulles, Virginia, with regional branches around the world, the former "goliath among Internet service providers" once had more than 30 million subscribers on several continents.

The fact that AOL users cannot delete their accounts have been among the major reasons for its tainted customer service reputation.

AOL, initially labeled as a giant in internet browsing, soon lost its charm. It has since attempted to reposition itself as a content provider similar to companies such as Yahoo!

On Wednesday August 2, 2006 AOL announced: "We’re in the process of offering all of our content and many of our services for free -- with or without an AOL Internet connection."

The strategic shift of providing the services for free was announced to accelerate the decline in its core Internet access business.

AOL hopes that by providing free and new services, it can draw Internet users to its ad-supported Web sites and keep them from defecting to Microsoft, Google and Yahoo!, which have offered free e-mail for years.

Now one can download the software from for free.