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Research In Motion to add Lotus IM capabilities to BlackBerries

The new service is expected to be available later this year

By Todd R. Weiss
April 20, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - IBM's Lotus Software Group and Research In Motion Ltd. have reached an agreement to make its Lotus Instant Messaging software available to users of BlackBerry mobile devices.
In an announcement yesterday, Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM, which makes BlackBerry handhelds, said the new service will be available later this year.
In a similar deal, RIM said yesterday that it has entered a separate agreement with Microsoft Corp. to bring enterprise IM capabilities to BlackBerry users using Microsoft products (see story).
In the Lotus deal, RIM and IBM are working to enable enterprise instant messaging on the BlackBerry platform to bring users some of Lotus IM's capabilities, including presence awareness and webconferencing, according to the handheld maker.
Ken Bisconti, vice president of Lotus Workplace, portal and collaboration products at IBM, said BlackBerry products today work with several consumer-level IM services, including AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and ICQ. The deal with Lotus, however, marks the first time that BlackBerries will support an enterprise-level IM service, he said.
"In many organizations, including our own, it's a technology that's a must-have," Bisconti said. "Extending Lotus IM to all devices is very important."
Mike Lazaridis, RIM's president and co-CEO, said in the statement that the new Lotus IM services "will be a very complementary addition to the existing suite of productivity applications available to BlackBerry users. Together, Lotus Instant Messaging and BlackBerry will offer greater opportunities for organizations to support their mobile workforce with enhanced communication and collaboration capabilities," he said.
Kevin Burden, an analyst at IDC in Framingham, Mass., said the move makes sense for both companies. IBM will get more users for its Lotus IM product, while RIM can pick up users of core collaboration tools from Lotus. "I think this is just kind of a natural progression," Burden said.
The deal with Microsoft also offers BlackBerry users more options, Burden said. "It's all about giving people the choice of how they want to communicate."
The Lotus IM client for BlackBerry will use Lotus IM messaging interfaces to connect BlackBerry users to their existing corporate IM community, according to the companies. Lotus IM will also provide a server-based audit trail of messages for BlackBerry users to help businesses with regulatory compliance matters.

Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.

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