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But if AIM was to be a standalone program, it needed to run off some equipment."AIM was sort of the prototypical skunkworks project," Bosco said.Due to the way its system was constructed, AOL knew not just that people were logged on but which users they were.This allowed for the construction of a location tool that proved extremely popular.Appelman joined after his time at IBM, where he worked on some of the first standards to connect computers over the Internet (through what are known as Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol or TCP/IP).Before building a messaging program for the Internet, he created something else that would eventually spawn AIM.Even that number would eventually be much too small.That requirement meant AOL's messenger would need its own code, particularly as the resources allotted to the project — technically none — would have trouble with that scale.
The rise and fall of AOL Instant Messenger rivals them all.
Patent US 6750881 B1 "User definable on-line co-user lists" was born, a.k.a, the buddy list. You didn't have to check whether somebody was on, but it told you," Appelman said.
Far from a giant development product, Appelman discussed it with only his close colleagues, as AOL did not have a great amount of oversight at the time. Two months later, AOL would switch from an hourly rate to a flat fee.
AOL had become a behemoth in the early days of the consumer Internet.
It handled around 180,000 simultaneous connections. Bosco said the goals for AOL's messenger were set much higher: 5 million simultaneous users.