AOL Gets the Green Light to Stream Video
On August 20, 2003, the Federal Communications Commission announced its decision to lift a condition it imposed on AOL, a division of the media conglomerate, when America Online and Time Warner formed AOL Time Warner in early 2001. Originally, the condition was one of two imposed by the FCC on the ISP for fear that if it were to video or audio enable its IM software, AOL would gain an "unassailable lead" over its nearest competitors in the emerging real-time messaging market. The second condition was that AOL invest in the development of technologies by which its users could reach the subscribers of other networks.
In April of this year AOL petitioned for the FCC to drop the condition preventing it from developing video services, citing that it has lost market share to Yahoo! and MSN since the merger. AOL described how these two providers of public IM already offer video IM features and the ban was no longer necessary. FCC Chairman Michael Powell agrees. "Removal of the condition will benefit consumers through the addition of a third significant competitor to the advanced instant messaging-based high-speed video services market," he said in a statement released on Wednesday.