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Access Hits Next Level

Yahoo is the first to offer an IM product specifically for business users.
Yahoo introduced a business version of its instant-messaging service last week that leverages the role-based engines used in some directories to let IT managers grant IM access to employees based on their roles. To support that, Yahoo is partnering with portal and directory vendors such as BEA Systems, Novell, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, and Tibco Software.

Yahoo Messenger enterprise edition will use Secure Sockets Layer encryption from VeriSign and work with software from FaceTime Communications and IMlogic. Licenses will be available at $30 per user, starting early next year.

Yahoo is willing to integrate its IM system with those from America Online and MSN, but Ken Hickman, director of product strategy at Yahoo enterprise solutions division, says "Full interoperability will require pressure from some of the big companies." Yahoo is the first of the three to offer an IM product for business users. An AOL spokesperson says businesses could see an enterprise IM product by year's end.