Yahoo loads up IM offering for enterprise

In a deal announced Wednesday, Internet icon Yahoo Inc. will pump up the features of its instant messaging (IM) offering with the help of Web conferencing solution builder WebEx Communications Inc.

The partnership will enable Yahoo to offer WebEx online meetings along with voice, IP video and telephone conferencing functions in addition to the current features like text messaging and file transfers, in the next version of Yahoo Messenger Enterprise Edition.

While Yahoo is keeping mum on the release date for its next enterprise IM offering, the product will also integrate IM applications and IM capabilities into BEA System’s Inc.’s WebLogic Workshop – a developer environment – which will enable developers to build on the ability to see when users are online.

In its own attempt to better its offerings for enterprise collaboration use, America Online Inc. (AOL) announced Wednesday it has called on the skills of IMLogic to manage, control and secure AOL’s Instant Messenger (AIM) product. IMLogic, an IM management software maker in Waltham, Mass., said its product, IM Manager can log and audit IM sessions, has the built-in ability to scan file transfers for viruses and offers access control capabilities.

In addition, IM Manager is capable of supporting other IM platforms including Microsoft Corp.’s MSN Messenger and Yahoo’s IM, a perk that hits home to AOL. Since the company’s merge with Time Warner Inc. in 2001, AOL has been shunted by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from offering any next-generation AIM capabilities until the product meets certain interoperability requirements with other tools. The FCC said the combined AOLTW company would “likely dominate” the market without having to meet the interoperability requirements, leaving competition in the dust.

And while the Yahoo-WebEx deal potentially gives the companies a head start against AOL, it may not be enough to beat out MSN Messenger, which Microsoft claims supports over 100 million active users a month.

Early last month, Microsoft announced it too will be offering integrated voice and video in its next version of MSN Messenger, due out before the end of this year. The new version will add Webcam functionality, personalized services, and integrated gaming features which allow users to play live games in real-time.

Visit Yahoo’s Canadian site at WebEx is online at