Microsoft Jumps Into Enterprise IM

UPDATE: The enterprise version of Microsoft's MSN Messenger IM service will feature technology from FaceTime and IMlogic.

Microsoft Corp. announced Wednesday its own entrant in the enterprise instant messaging space, following recent similar moves by consumer IM rivals Yahoo Inc. and America Online Inc.

The enterprise version of Microsofts MSN Messenger IM service will be known as MSN Messenger Connect for Enterprises.

The service will be based on Microsofts consumer IM service, MSN Messenger, but will add FaceTime Communications Inc.s IM Director application development platform and IMlogic Inc.s IM Manager gateway software for logging, auditing and securing messages. It will also include identity management and administration capabilities.

FaceTime and IMlogic provided similar technology for AOL, which launched Enterprise AIM Services earlier this month, and Yahoo, which launched Yahoo Messenger Enterprise Edition 1.0 last month.

The service will allow users to communicate with the 75 million MSN Messenger users but not with users of other services. It will also provide integration with Active Directory and Exchange 2000 IM services and in the future provide integration with Microsofts real-time communications platform, code-named "Greenwich," Microsoft officials said.

Officials said MSN Messenger Connect for Enterprises will be a broad corporate offering, though the financial services industry is an early vertical focus. In fact, several financial institutions are working with Microsoft on the initial design of the service as part of the MSN Messenger Connect for Enterprises Joint Development Program, officials said.

(Editors Note: This story has been modified since its original posting to include additional information about Microsofts new IM service and comments from company officials.)