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AOL Launches AIM Pro Service

AOL on Wednesday officially launched its AIM Pro instant-messaging service for workgroups and small to mid-sized businesses.

AIM Pro, which is available at no charge through the AOL portal, offers a streamlined buddy list, integration with the Microsoft Outlook email client, and one-click access to WebEx Communications's voice and video conferencing, and Web collaboration services for business communications.

In launching the new service, AOL is trying to reach the millions of workers that currently use the consumer version of AIM during their workday. Instant messaging has become a major collaboration tool within businesses, with or without support of IT departments.

As a result, IM security has become an issue within many companies. AOL is addressing the problem by offering what it says is business-grade security and SSL encryption for confidential business communications. The service also offers automatic anti-virus file scanning.

AOL, a unit of Time Warner Inc., is offering financial content through the AIM Pro client, including headlines from The Wall Street Journal, stock quotes and market data from the AOL portal's money and finance section. Users will also be able to play podcasts from business, technology, sports and entertainment news providers.