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AOL in the Voicemail Business

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, April 10, 2003

AOL gets into the voice mail business. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It's getting harder and harder for AOL to attract new subscribers... and hold on to the ones it has. So the world's biggest online service is looking for new ways to make money. It has launched a plus package for its service that includes antivirus software, parental controls and a firewall. And it has also introduced AOL Voicemail...

"It's a way for all our members messages to be in one place and allow them to get their voicemail on the phone or online and their email online or on the phone."

Jeremy Verba, general manager of voice services at AOL. The new 5.95 a month package includes Call Alert... which allows dial up subscribers to get phone calls while they're online... and AOL by Phone... allowing them to retrieve email by telephone. The system will let users be notified by pager if they have voice mail and listen to messages as streaming audio files online...

"As they come on, right now if they have mail they hear... you've got mail. They'll also hear, you've got voicemail. Once they click on the voicemail, which again is in the form of an email, they'll see the caller ID and the person in the subject line, they'll click a link and they will then stream their message. There's no download to listen to the message although they can download an attachment to save the message if they like."

Once upon a time... in a different dot com world... there were free services like this on the Internet. Users could face an additional monthly charge from their phone companies for having calls forwarded to the AOL service. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.