Partnerships Set Stage for Enterprise IM

Microsoft, AOL building more formal ties to third-party developers for management and security capabilities.

SAN JOSE, Calif.—With instant messaging moving further into the enterprise, the major IM vendors and networks are ramping up partnerships to meet enterprise demands for management, security and regulatory compliance.

During the Instant Messaging Planet 2003 Conference and Expo here this week, both Microsoft Corp. and America Online Inc. announced new partnerships with third-party developers to build greater enterprise capabilities on top of their products and services.

Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., announced 10 new partners for its Office Live Communications Server 2003, its long-awaited enterprise IM and presence software that is being launched on Tuesday.

/zimages/2/28571.gifFind out here more about Microsofts plans for messaging and presence beyond next weeks introduction of Office Live Communications Server 2003.

Those partners include some of the major players in the enterprise IM gateway space—IMlogic Inc., FaceTime Communications Inc. and Akonix Systems Inc. The gateways add capabilities such as logging, archiving and encryption on top of messages traveling in and out of a corporate network.

IMlogic announced this week that its IMlogic IM Manager will integrate with Live Communications Server 2003 to provide logging, archiving and reporting capabilities not only within enterprises but when they interconnect with the public MSN Messenger service. IM Manager achieves the interconnection through its integration with MSN Messenger Connect for Enterprises, an additional service from Microsoft to hook Live Communications Server with the broader MSN Messenger network.

FaceTime also announced that by the fourth quarter of this year, new versions of its IM Auditor and IM Director software will be available to support Live Communications Server. IM Auditor provides regulatory compliance for IM, while IM Director offers security, management and control of IM.

For its part, AOL certified Akonix as a partner. Akonix offers its L7 Enterprise software for managing, storing and reporting on enterprise IM use. While it had already supported the AOL Instant Messenger traffic, the certification makes its relationship with AOL more formal, said Akonix CEO Peter Shaw.

Formal partnerships between the major IM vendors and third-party developers are important because enterprises increasingly will want assurance that partners are authorized to work with the major players, Shaw said.

"Enterprises want to use IM, and they want to use it in a safe and secure fashion," Shaw said.

IMlogic also announced this week that its technology was selected by Reuters to connect its Reuters Messaging service with AOLs Instant Messenger service. AOL and Reuters in had signed a deal last month to interconnect their services.

In other news from the Instant Messaging Planet show:

The Jabber Software Foundation, an open-source organization pushing the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) standard, announced the availability of two gateways to connect XMPP with two other leading protocols. The gateways provide links with SIMPLE and Wireless Village.

Omnipod Inc. released version 3.3 of its Professional Online Desktop that builds security into the file sharing and transferring capabilities of IM. The new version includes, among other new features, server-side virus scanning, the automatic resuming of interrupted file transfers and a redesigned file directory and transfer screen.

Secure Data in Motion Inc. launched version 1.2 of its Sigaba Secure Instant Messaging with a new embeddable secure IM applet and a new digital signature service.

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