AOL continued its torrid announcement frenzy today by releasing details of its acquisition of Userplane for an undisclosed amount. Userplane, a Los Angeles-based company, offers a suite of online communication tools which include chat, audio and video messaging to help power online communities. The full list of Userplane products includes:
Webchat - full-featured, text/voice/video multi-user chatting
Webmessenger - live text/voice/video instant messaging
Webrecorder - record and share voice/video messages
Sitesearch - advanced, natural-results user searching
Presence - web and desktop-based live user presence
AOL plans to use the product to implement into the AIM Network. It sounds like it could provide Skype-like features to any application or site which could provide some powerful features for an online community.
Jeff Clavier, founder of SoftTech VC (an angel investment and consulting firm), worked closely with Userplane for the past couple of years and reflected:
"Ever since I met Mike Jones at BlogOn 2004, Userplane’s founders had earned my respect for having built a sustainable business purely on cashflows, without ever taking outside investment capital."
Jeff went on to say that he thought it was a "smart move" by both AOL and Userplane. TechCrunch seems to agree. I also think it is a great move for AOL as it continues to position itself to attract the masses with exciting new open and free services.