North American readers might find it hard to believe, but a number of companies are currently involved in a bidding war over the ICQ instant messaging division of AOL. The service died off for the most part many years ago in North America, but the service still sports over 33 million users worldwide, and is the number 1 provider in Russia with over 8.3 million IM’ers.
The list of interested companies include Google, DST, and Nasper. Google’s interest in ICQ is most likely because of the Russian connection. This is a market where they have struggled somewhat to gain a foothold, and buying into an existing customer base is an easy way to make up some market share.