Yahoo Focuses on Enterprise for IM

At the IM Planet Expo, Yahoo Wednesday announced a forthcoming messaging SDK that will enable better integration into business apps.

SAN JOSE—Just as enterprises begin to standardize their employees use of instant messaging, major IM networks and software providers are working on the next step—better integration of messaging with enterprise applications and systems.

Speaking on Wednesday at the Instant Messaging Planet Fall 2003 Conference and Expo here, Steve Boom, senior vice president for Yahoo Inc.s enterprise solutions group, said the company plans to provide a software developers kit early in the first quarter of 2004 to help enterprises better connect its Yahoo Business Messenger into their business processes.

Even as Yahoo pushes more integration with enterprise applications and systems, Boom said that for now the main concern for enterprises is managing and securing the use of IM and looking to select a standard platform. He expects enterprises to start paying closer attention to integration late next year.

"At the end of the day, youre not going to go into a business process solution without knowing that you are solving your person-to-person communication problem as well," Boom said.

Yahoo increasingly is trying to differentiate its consumer-oriented Yahoo Messenger from its enterprise Business Messenger service. Earlier this month, it announced integration of its Business Messenger with Web conferencing from WebEx Communications Inc.

After his address, Boom was asked whether Yahoo is trying to prevent business and corporate use of its consumer Yahoo Messenger since the end-user licensing terms bar non-commercial use. He said Yahoo is not trying to prevent business use of its consumer service.

But the Sunnyvale, Calif., company also has more aggressively sought to block third parties from accessing its IM network. One result of a forced upgrade to newer versions of the Yahoo Messenger client last month was the blocking of third parties such as Cerulean Studios Trillian that provide access to multiple IM networks through one client. Trillian has since released a patch to continue connecting with Yahoo.

Yahoos not alone. The other major IM networks have played cat-and-mouse with third parties before. Microsoft Corp. has said it would block unauthorized third parties from accessing its .Net Messenger Service that includes MSN Messenger and Windows Messenger as of today.

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