RIM, Microsoft Team on Enterprise IM

In an attempt to expand its enterprise instant messaging service, Microsoft announced today it has made a deal with IM rival Research in Motion (RIM) to allow Microsoft Live Communication Server users access their messages through their BlackBerry wireless devices.

Microsoft is also working on its own software that would allow Windows Mobile users to connect to their corporate IM.

RIM will develop a Live Communications Server (LCS) client that includes enhanced security. The company expects a trial in September, with the finished product scheduled to be released by the end of the year. No pricing was revealed.

Microsoft said it’s planning to release a beta version of its software by year’s end.

Small, But Will Grow

Microsoft’s LCS does not have much market penetration yet, but David Ferris, president of Ferris Research, which specializes in messaging and collaboration, said he expects that to change.

“Right now it’s pretty limited,” he told TechNewsWorld. “It will be big in the future, but Microsoft has been very slow to put together a product strategy that it can stick to for IM.”

Ferris said Microsoft has had difficulty defining an architecture for its real-time communication vision in which users could interact via IM, e-mail, phone, SMS, video conferencing and Web conferencing using a variety of devices and networks. In addition, the company’s broad product portfolio makes creating one solution a tough task.

Microsoft’s latest plans include providing tools for independent software developers to create their own programs to interoperate Windows Mobile, which runs on phones and Pocket PC devices, as well as LCS.

Three Deals

For its part, RIM did not limit its announcements to the Microsoft deal today. The company released details of a series of instant messaging collaborations this morning, including one with IBM.

Big Blue’s Lotus enterprise instant messaging program currently dominates the market. RIM said it will create a client allowing IBM’s Lotus Instant Messaging and Web conferencing software to work with its BlackBerries.

In addition, RIM said that it is planning to integrate Novell’s GroupWise Messenger into its BlackBerry devices.

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