Lotus Sametime Links With AIM, Yahoo

IBM and AOL announced at Lotusphere in Orlando on Monday an agreement to connect the Lotus Sametime instant messaging network with AIM and ICQ. IBM also announced a federation deal with Yahoo! Messenger and planned compatibility with Google Talk.

The agreement with IBM brings AOL's reach to 75 percent of all enterprise IM users and adds to past federation partners including Reuters, Jabber and Microsoft. AIM users will be able to add Sametime identities to their buddy lists and vice versa, along with reaching AOL's other EIM customers.

IBM is rolling out the new functionality with the release of Lotus Sametime 7.5, which boasts a new look and feel with embedded VoIP capabilities. The client will be available in mid-2006 for Windows, with versions for Linux and Mac OS X slated for release before the end of the year.

Collaboration and social networking features will also play a role in the 7.5 release. IBM has partnered with Avaya, Nortel and others to enable audio and video conferencing, along with a Web interface for online presentations.

"At IBM, we view this as an evolution from real-time tools to 'real-time business' and have introduced a set of new technologies and offerings to help customers keep up and compete at the dizzying speed of today's economic landscape," said Michael Rhodin, general manager of IBM's Workplace, Portal and Collaboration Software business.

IBM currently touts 15 million Lotus Sametime users.

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