Windows Live Messenger and Hotmail on the BlackBerry

Can anyone say co-opetition? Even as Research in Motion (RIM) faces increasing competition from Microsoft's Windows Mobile (and the multitude of platforms it runs on), the two

companies have announced a new partnership. Two of Microsoft's Windows Live services will be available on BlackBerry smartphones: Windows Live Messenger and Hotmail (now known as Windows Live Hotmail). The latter will feature a beefed up level of integration between Hotmail and the BlackBerry platform. Specifically Hotmail for BlackBerry will allow BlackBerry users to “push” and synch e-mail messages for Hotmail accounts, use a dedicated inbox for Hotmail and display HTML e-mail. When using Live Messenger, Blackberry users can send instant messages and join group chats, set status and see the presence info of buddies on their contact cards, save conversations, use their Avatars, send and receive pictures and files and use more than 60 emoticons.

This partnership comes on the heels of other Microsoft-related announcements from RIM, most notably that RIM's much anticipated BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 (code-named Argon) supports integration with Microsoft Active directory, part of RIM's effort to make BES a platform for emerging trends such as unified communications.

On the flip side, Microsoft is putting pressure on RIM to keep up. Microsoft has ramped up its efforts to attract consumers to its Windows Mobile operating system. Earlier this year, it hired a new vice president of marketing and announced that it is distributing a software application from its Zumobi spin-off, which makes it easier for Windows Mobile users to browse the Web. On the enterprise side, Microsoft has just released System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008, in the hopes of making Microsoft handhelds as fully manageable as its desktop and laptop PCs.

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