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Firm pushes open-source BlackBerry alternative

New mobile e-mail software from Funambol works with Exchange, Domino, IMAP and POP e-mail servers.

Funambol released an open-source software product Monday that allows companies to provide e-mail services from several different types of e-mail servers such as Microsoft Exchange, IBM's Lotus Domino, IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) and POP (Post Office Protocol) servers. Funambol v3 is expected to become available as a free download on the company's Web site late Monday, and a version with additional features will be available for a fee.

The company joins a rapidly growing list of e-mail companies attempting to position themselves as an alternative to Research in Motion's BlackBerry software, which is staring down the barrel of an injunction in its patent dispute with NTP. Funambol v3 also can be used by wireless carriers to "push" e-mail directly to mobile devices as it is sent, rather than requiring users to log in to a central server to download their e-mail. It works with RIM's BlackBerry devices, Windows Mobile-based handhelds and phones that use specifications supported Open Mobile Alliance.