Microsoft Corp. and Research In Motion (RIM) today announced a product collaboration and joint marketing agreement to extend enterprise instant messaging (IM) and presence to BlackBerry® subscribers through connectivity with Microsoft® Office Live Communications Server 2005 and BlackBerry Enterprise Server™ .

Companies are using Live Communications Server to deploy enterprise-grade IM and presence capabilities across their networks and through federated connections with other organizations running Live Communications Server. Based on Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE) standards, Live Communications Server provides a platform for the development of custom real-time communications solutions that span PC networks, desk phone systems and mobile devices. The combined Microsoft-RIM solution is designed to extend rich Live Communications Server features to employees using BlackBerry, enabling mobile professionals to transmit instant messages and share presence-based information to maintain real-time connectivity with colleagues, partners and customers while they are away from the office.

“Instant messaging and presence are playing an increasingly important role in helping information workers stay in touch with critical business contacts and make better decisions, faster,” said Gurdeep Pall, corporate vice president for the Real-Time Collaboration Group at Microsoft. “Extending these valuable communications tools from the desktop, with Microsoft Office Communicator, to mobile devices like BlackBerry is a core element of our vision for integrated communications, which aims to unify communications across PCs, phones and mobile devices so people can communicate and collaborate more effectively and efficiently. We are excited about expanding our vibrant developer partner ecosystem to include providers of rich mobile solutions, like BlackBerry, to further extend and enhance the Live Communications experience.”

“Enterprise customers around the world have chosen BlackBerry for its ability to keep employees connected to timely communications and information. Together with Microsoft, we are extending the benefits of Live Communications Server to mobile BlackBerry users and enhancing personal and workgroup communications,” said Jim Balsillie, chairman and co-CEO of Research In Motion. “Enterprise instant messaging capabilities for BlackBerry with Live Communications Server mark another important and expansive step for wireless enterprise connectivity.”

RIM is working to develop a Live Communications Server Client for BlackBerry that provides security-enhanced Live Communications Server IM connectivity between mobile BlackBerry users and their Live Communications Server enterprise deployment. Through this agreement, Microsoft and RIM plan to extend the benefits of Live Communications Server to the many companies and government organizations using BlackBerry around the world.

RIM expects to have product availability by the end of the year, with a trial in September 2005. Further information regarding product specifications will be available at a later date.