New York IT consulting firm Scient Inc. has partnered with AOL Time Warner Inc. to develop and sell services in the business services market using America Online Inc.’s instant messaging (IM) platform and secure e-mail system, Scient said Thursday.

The companies will work together to comarket and sell a package of Scient’s business solutions along with business and financial services based on AOL technologies, Scient spokeswoman Diana Butler confirmed.

AOL, based in Dulles, Virginia, could not immediately be reached for comment.

With huge losses, including a massive net loss of US$54.2 billion in the first quarter of the year, AOL Chief Executive Officer Richard Parsons promised at last month’s annual stockholders’ meeting to boost the performance of AOL as part of a major effort to bring the merged company to profitability.

With that in mind, AOL has been quietly staking out plans to generate revenue by focusing on the business services market, a sector already well covered by AOL rival Microsoft Corp.

AOL’s consumer IM product, AIM, with some 34 million users, has provided strong competition for Microsoft’s MSN Messenger in the consumer market and with Scient’s help, could possibly challenge Microsoft in the business services market.

Scient declined to give any details of the deal with AOL, saying that it would be premature to do so.

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