DULLES, VA, April 10, 2000 -- America Online, Inc. (NYSE: AOL), the world's leading interactive services company, today announced the general release of its next-generation AOL Instant Messenger(sm) service, Version 4.0, now enhanced with new features and services to make real-time communications even more personal and convenient. AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) 4.0 new features include AIM Talk, which enables online voice communication between AIM users, and Instant Images, which allows users to exchange images and sounds. The new AIM 4.0 for Windows and Macintosh is available today for consumers to download free at AOL.COM (www.aol.com/aim). AOL Instant Messenger, which recently surpassed 50 million registered users, is the free Internet extension of AOL's Buddy List(r) network. AOL's Buddy List network is the world's largest and most popular instant messaging community with over 90 million AOL members and AIM users combined. At peak times, the Buddy List network hosts over 2.4 million simultaneous users. As instant messaging becomes increasingly central to the everyday Internet experience, AIM usage has increased with the average AIM user now spending close to 3 hours on the service each day, a 40% increase over six months ago and peak simultaneous usage has surpassed 900,000 users. America Online expects to make the AIM 4.0 platform available soon on the Company's other brands, including Netscape, CompuServe and AOL's international services. In addition, America Online's AIM partners -- including Apple, Arch Communications, Bell South, DigitalWork.com, EarthLink, FaceTime Communications, Juno, Kinko's, IBM's Lotus, Lycos, Motorola, Net2Phone, Nokia, Novell, Oxygen Media, RealNetworks, Research in Motion (RIM), Riffage, TV Guide and Voyager.net -- will be able to upgrade their co-branded versions of AIM to benefit their consumers who have joined the AIM community through these partnerships. Jonathan Sacks, Senior Vice President, AOL Interactive Services Group, said: "With exciting new features, AIM 4.0 delivers a dynamic instant messaging experience that brings online communications to life like never before with the ability to send images and place voice 'calls.' AIM 4.0 integrates the numerous ways people communicate with one another with the power and immediacy of instant messaging. Whether using AIM Talk to further a discussion without reaching for the phone, sending an Instant Image when a picture says more than words, or being able to know when new e-mail arrives or stock prices change, 4.0 provides AIM users with greater convenience, ease-of-use and personalization. By conveniently packaging together consumer-friendly communications features and delivering new levels of personalization and interactivity, we expect AIM 4.0 to supercharge the instant messaging revolution and be a significant catalyst for new growth, usage and creative expression." AIM 4.0 introduces new communication features to enhance the convenience and power that instant messaging offers consumers every day, including: More Personal Ways to Communicate and Share With Others AIM Talk (sm) - Enables online voice communications between AIM users. AIM users can place and receive "calls" from any Internet-enabled PC (equipped with the AIM 4.0 software, sound card, standard computer speakers and a microphone.) Simple to use, AIM Talk is conveniently integrated into AIM so that users can quickly check to see who is online and initiate a call with a single click Instant Images - Allows AIM users to send and receive photos, images and sounds to one another easily via instant messages. The ability to exchange more than text adds a new dimension to instant online communications and enables AIM users to "see the big picture" during a conversation. New Buddy Icons: AIM 4.0 introduces a new selection of Buddy Icons that can be used to personalize instant messages. Buddy Icons, already an extremely popular feature on AIM, are graphical icons that users can choose to have automatically appear on instant messages they send to buddies. The new AIM 4.0 icons reflect specific hobbies, romance themes and will include special icons appropriate for holidays and other events. "Alerts" to Stay on Top of Important Information -- Instantly E-Mail Alerts - With new AIM E-mail Alerts, users with AOL Mail and POP3 e-mail accounts can receive automatic alerts when new e-mail arrives in their mailbox. AIM e-mail alerts can be set up for one or multiple mailboxes and also provide an easy way for users to access each mailbox to read incoming mail or compose new mail. Stock Alerts - AIM 4.0's new Stock Alerts make it easy and convenient for users to track specific stocks and stay on top of market changes. Users will be notified automatically when stocks they are following change direction. Simple to set up, AIM users can customize their stock alerts by setting specific limits based on price and volume changes, with changes measured in either points or percentages. For example, a user can request to receive an alert when XYZ stock rises 25% in volume of shares traded, or if XYZ stock falls 2 points below yesterday's closing price. Each alert contains detailed quote information and provides a graphical chart of the day's performance. Buddy Alerts - With AIM 4.0's new Buddy Alerts, users can know instantly when a specific person they need to reach signs on. Now, when users are busy online they can set up a buddy alert to automatically alert them when a friend, family member or co-worker comes online, so they'll never miss an opportunity to get in touch. Added Convenience Features to Make Instant Communications Even Easier Buddy Information - To use AIM 4.0's new AIM Talk and Instant Image features, AIM users each need to have the latest AIM software installed on their PC. AIM 4.0 makes it easy and convenient to find out what features each of their "buddies" can support. AIM will automatically display each new AIM capability, so they'll know immediately whether someone can receive a call via AIM Talk or receive an Instant Image. Automatic Upgrades - New versions of AIM are released regularly. The new AIM 4.0 now has the ability to notify registered users whenever a new version is available, with an automatic way to get the latest software. As soon as a new version of AIM is available, users will be notified with a direct upgrade capability that downloads the software at the user's option through a single click. Desktop Convenience - While busy working on the computer, AIM allows users to know instantly when their friends come online and can stay in constant contact. With the new AIM 4.0, users can keep their AIM window easily accessible by simply dragging and dropping it to the left or right side of their computer screen so it will automatically fit beside other open applications. The new Version 4.0 of the free AIM software also includes the following current features: a customizable ability to see when friends and family are online; the ability to send and receive instant messages and participate in private or group chat rooms; customized news and stock quotes updated throughout the day; single-click access to Web searching; Yellow and White pages; the option to exchange files such as pictures or documents with other users; a Community Directory and People Finder tool; and customizable privacy controls.