Definitions

AIMutation

Messenger:Mate

Messenger:Mate was a retail software program distributed by Versoworks Pty Ltd that added features and enhanced both AOL Instant Messenger and MSN Messenger. Licenses to either product cost $9.95 USD. Each license included technical support and free updates for one year. Afterward, you could continue to use the software, but would have to renew your license to receive further technical support and/or updates.

Messenger:Mate was created and maintained by a single programmer, Maurizio Pisano, formerly the programmer of AIMutation.

The programs have now been discontinued in favor of Versoworks' newest creation, Ahoihoi, a stand-alone client for the AOL Instant Messenger network created using the plugin API provided by America Online. Despite its discontinuation, the product is still popular among those that favor the classic AOL Instant Messenger client over the newly released AIM 6.

History

Another software company, 545 Studios, previously created an enhancement program for use with AOL Instant Messenger creatively named AIMutation. AIMutation featured its trademark skinning, as does Messenger:Mate. AIMutation was originally freeware, but later, its owners began charging a price for copies of the software. Users could either opt to purchase a lifetime subscription (known as an "Elite Membership") or several download credits. Technical support and beta testing were exclusive to Elite Memberships, as was access to a special forum on the website.

Shae Petersen, founder of 545 Studios decided to leave the company after five years to pursue other interests; he and Pisano agreed that 545 Studios would no longer be able to survive without the partnership. The two co-partners dissolved 545 Studios. In order to keep from depriving those that still had download credits and those that purchased Elite Memberships, Pisano made the software freeware and open-source.

Most notably, Tom Nolan and Oren Novotny took over development after the software went open-source. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the project, few updates were made to the existing code base. Due to this fact, compatibility was rarely achieved with the newer versions of AOL Instant Messenger, and the software began to stagnate with further incompatibility with each update of the AOL Instant Messenger client.

After Pisano left 545 Studios, he created Versoworks. The name Versoworks is a combination of "Verso", derived from the reverse engineering that goes into Messenger:Mate and "works", taken from Dreamworks, one of the Big Ten film studios in the United States. To differ from his previous venture, he initially created Messenger:Mate for MSN Messenger. Due to popular demand, he reintroduced himself into the AOL Instant Messenger scene with the release of Messenger:Mate for AIM. This release was announced on popular instant messaging news websites such as Big Blue Ball. Threatened by this new competition, JDennis, home of DeadAIM, began removing any references of Messenger:Mate for AIM from their support forum DeadAIM was previously, secretly acquired by America Online and has not had any releases since version 4.5 in 2003. America Online ceased development of DeadAIM with their release of AOL Instant Messenger 6.0, codenamed Triton.

Petersen went on to create 5iveover, an Internet hosting company along with Tracy Jenks. Jenks took over maintaining AIMutation's website, but eventually, Pisano threatened legal action if the domain AIMutation.com was not transferred back to Pisano's control. The two finally agreed that Pisano would handle the open-source distribution of AIMutation, and the domain AIMutation.com now redirects users to the Versoworks website.

5iveover proved to be unsuccessful and unprofitable. Jenks and Petersen gave up on the venture in mid to late 2005, letting the domain expire without renewing.

References

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