ICQ, Mail2World Team On E-Mail Service

new e-mail service

ICQ is one of America Online's very popular consumer instant mail clients; Mail2World, Los Angeles, is an e-mail outsourcing provider.

The premium version of ICQMail includes two gigabytes of storage so users can deal with large attachments. Storage has become a competitive battle ground for mail service providers of late, especially since Google's nascent free Gmail service started offering users unlimited storage for their accounts earlier this year. Yahoo and Microsoft's Hotmail services boosted the amount of storage they allocate to their customers in response.

Users of the new ICQ service can also create distribution groups and set up automatic responses. The service costs $19.99 per year.

ICQ, which claims in excess of 20 million users worldwide, most outside the U.S., offers instant mail translation services supporting up to seven languages,.

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While ICQ remains a consumer-focused service, it—like its AOL Instant Messenger—has found its way into business, observers said. AOL research shows that nearly a third of IM users (27 percent) use it at work, up 71 percent over the previous year. That means solution providers need to stay abreast of what's going on in the IM world.

Nonetheless, ICQ's consumer focus will remain, said Ronen Arad, director of product management in ICQ's Tel Aviv offices. For business IM use, it looks like Microsoft and IBM will continue to lead the pack, he noted.

AOL bought ICQ, which just celebrated its eighth anniversary, in 1998.