IM for the suits

Yahoo first to offer grown up instant messaging
Written by Tony Hallett, Contributor

Yahoo first to offer grown up instant messaging

Yahoo! has released a version of its instant messaging (IM) software aimed at business users. IM has become popular both at home and at work, though IT managers have long worried about security and control issues such as keeping track of exchanges which aren't usually recorded in the same way as emails. Yahoo! Messenger Enterprise Edition 1.0 uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption from VeriSign and will tie in with corporate portal and directory software from companies including BEA, Novell, Oracle and Tibco. Yahoo! will allow users to customise IM interfaces and is touting interoperability with its consumer product, though the company admits interoperability to the same degree as email is still far away. Microsoft and AOL - which also owns the ICQ IM brand - make up the triumvirate of dominant IM software providers. Steve Boom, MD Yahoo! Enterprise Solutions Group Europe, told silicon.com: "We believe IM will become as, or almost as, ubiquitous as email. But [in terms of cross-vendor interoperability], there hasn't been a lot of progress in recent memory." IDC estimates there are already some 20 million users of IM at work, a market which will reach 300 million by 2005. The Yahoo! Corporate IM offering will be offered as a service with a starting price of $30 per user per month. It will be available from "early Q1".
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