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BlackBerry stirs in Lotus IM

Research In Motion's spate of IM deals continues with plan to support IBM's Lotus Instant Messaging on its wireless devices.

Research In Motion is gearing up to plug IBM's Lotus Instant Messaging and Web conferencing software into its BlackBerry wireless devices.

Support for the software will arrive in RIM's lineup later this year, the companies said Tuesday. Under the deal between RIM and IBM, BlackBerry owners will be able to use the Lotus Instant Messaging client to reach their existing corporate IM contacts.

The support will also enable server-based tracking of messages, a feature aimed at helping businesses comply with government information guidelines.

"Enterprise instant messaging is an important application for our customers, and wireless instant messaging will be a very complementary addition to the existing suite of productivity applications available to BlackBerry users," Mike Lazaridis, president of RIM said in a statement. "Together Lotus Instant Messaging and BlackBerry will offer greater opportunities for organizations to support their mobile work force with enhanced communication and collaboration capabilities."

The move is the second deal in as many days to provide additional IM software to users of BlackBerry devices. On Monday, RIM announced an agreement with Microsoft to develop messaging software for devices that link to servers using software from both companies. In addition, RIM recently signed a separate deal to offer Yahoo's IM software to consumers.

RIM is also working with America Online to include AOL Instant Messenger and ICQ services on the BlackBerry, and to offer AOL's mobile-mail service. Two years ago, AOL ended a partnership with RIM that offered a co-branded wireless messaging device. Shortly after that, RIM first began equipping the BlackBerry with instant-messaging software from IBM's Lotus division.

Customer security has recently become one of the greatest concerns surrounding IM software. The corporate Reuters Messaging service was taken offline recently after it came under network attack. According to statistics from IMlogic Threat Center, the quantity of IM threats increased 250 percent in the first quarter of 2005, compared with the same period last year.