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Sun unveils new IM software combo

Sun Microsystems on Monday will release a new version of its enterprise business-oriented instant messaging software as part of an overall communications software package.

Sun Microsystems on Monday will release a new version of its enterprise business-oriented instant messaging software as part of an overall unveiling of a communications software package.

Called the Sun Open Network Environment (Sun ONE) Collaborative Business Platform, the product combines e-mail and calendaring with Sun ONE Instant Messaging 6.0, the latest version of its enterprise IM software that includes security, wireless access, search and archiving features.

The package also comes with directory software for managing passwords, portal software for community Web sites and professional services to get it all installed and running.

"This takes collection of collaboration products and services by Sun and offers a comprehensive solution," Patrick Dorsey, group manager for Sun ONE communications products, said in an interview.

For Sun, the launch highlights its attempt to improve its server sales by adding more software features. The collaboration software will be a component of a new project dubbed Orion Sun unveiled in February in an effort to build its various software products into a single collection of software with a simpler pricing structure.

The release is also another example of the growing market for enterprise IM software.

As IM popularity begins to grow in the workplace, many enterprise software companies such as Sun are trying to sell IM services that include more features for corporate IT management. Software giants such as Microsoft, IBM and Oracle have all signaled their intention to sell secure IM to their existing clients.

Sun isn't the only one with collaboration software. IBM has sold its Lotus products for years. Microsoft in particular has placed a heavy bet in this space, recently unveiling its Greenwich server software, which in its initial form will offer secure IM. In future incarnations, Microsoft will tie features such as e-mail, voice calling and videoconferencing into Greenwich.

Sun's IM server software costs $30 per user, with volume discounts, Sun said.