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Yahoo heralds corporate messaging

The company unveils a version of its instant message service designed to work with corporate portals and business applications.

Yahoo has unveiled a version of its Messenger service designed to work with corporate portals and business applications.

Instant messaging software has been wildly popular with consumers and, despite some obstacles, has begun to catch on with office workers. In July, 12.7 million office workers used such services from companies including America Online, Yahoo, Microsoft and Trillian, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

Yahoo said it has already reached deals with BEA Systems, Novell, Oracle, Sun Microsystems and Tibco to integrate its software with their applications. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company also said it would work with VeriSign for advanced security and with FaceTime Communications and IMlogic for logging and archiving technologies.

A beta version of the new product will be available in the fourth quarter. The final version is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2003. Pricing was not available.

While instant messaging has been catching on in corporations, it has also been held back by concerns about interoperability because the products offered by major players including AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo do not generally work with one other. That situation--imagine businesses installing phone services but not being able to call companies that use a different carrier--has prompted some to hold back on adoption.

But the software makers are still trying to get into the market. AOL recently created a division that will market a version of its AOL Instant Messenger customized for corporate use by adding security for private, internal communications. And Microsoft is working on software, code-named Greenwich, designed for internal corporate messaging.