IBM revamps Sametime enterprise IM platform

IBM Corp. unveiled an improved version of its Sametime enterprise IM (instant-message) platform Monday, announcing integration with public IM services from America Online Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc.

Lotus Sametime 7.5, slated for mid-2006, will have a new multiprotocol gateway that will allow its users to communicate with those on public IM networks, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, AOL’s AIM and ICQ and Apple Computer Inc.’s iChat.

This has been a long-awaited move for IBM, considering that Microsoft Corp. announced in mid-2004 its intention to link its enterprise IM platform, Live Communications Server, with public IM networks from AOL and Yahoo, and with its own MSN Messenger service.

However, there was no mention of connecting Sametime with MSN Messenger in Monday’s press release from IBM.

Other enhancements in Sametime 7.5 include:

— A refurbished user interface that will resemble those of public IM applications;

— Improved privacy and security capabilities;

— Embedded VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) functionality;

— Client-side support for Apple’s Mac OS X 10.4 and for the Linux operating systems;

— Support for the Eclipse open-source application framework, opening Sametime to third-party plug-ins, extensions and applications.

— Integration with IBM Workplace Collaboration Services, so the Sametime client will be an identical front-end to Sametime and Workplace servers

Pricing for Lotus Sametime 7.5 will be announced when it ships in midyear, according to IBM, which made the announcement at its Lotusphere 2006 conference in Orlando.