Moves made by Microsoft Corp., IBM and Novell Inc. last week will extend the reach of enterprise instant messaging to mobile devices.
Microsoft made the biggest news, announcing a beta of its Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005 client for Microsoft Windows Mobile devices. The beta is expected to be released in the second half of this year and will support IM on Windows Mobile 5.0 devices including devices that use the Pocket PC, Pocket PC Phone Edition and Smartphone mobile operating systems.
In addition, Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash.; IBM, of Armonk, N.Y.; and Novell, based in Waltham, Mass., announced plans to extend their respective enterprise IM clients to Research In Motion Ltd.s BlackBerry device.
Long-term plans call for Microsoft to add full LCS client capabilities to the mobile client, including video and Web conferencing and team collaboration, though Microsoft officials said those technologies are dependent on improving mobile phone networks and gave no timetable for availability.
But Microsoft has formed partnerships with a number of mobile network equipment and infrastructure vendors, including Radvision Ltd., Speakanet A/S, Aepona Ltd., Sonim S.A., NewStep Networks, BridgePort Networks Inc., Sylantro Systems Corp. and BroadSoft Inc.
On the client front, RIM, of Waterloo, Ontario, plans to support both the LCS 2005 client and the Lotus Instant Messaging client on BlackBerry devices by the end of this year. RIM will offer a trial of the LCS client by September and demonstrated a trial of the Lotus IM client at the Wireless Enterprise Symposium in Orlando, Fla., last week. In addition, RIM announced that it is working with Novell to bring GroupWise Messenger to the BlackBerry.
Microsoft has also signed partnership agreements with other mobile client technology developers, including Fujitsu Ltd., Followap, MessageVine Inc., PDAapps Inc., Fenestrae Inc. and Rivotek Inc.