Critical Path to expand services to the enterprise

Critical Path Inc. is expected to announce tomorrow that it is expanding its messaging product line to include a behind-the-firewall enterprise product.

While the San Francisco-based company is widely known for its hosted and Internet service provider messaging products, a recent trend toward trimmer and cheaper products has spurred the company to offer a version of its Web-based e-mail for large enterprise use, according to vice president Pat Hume. The enterprise package is targeted specifically at customers of messaging industry heavyweights Microsoft Corp. and IBM Corp. subsidiary Lotus Software Group in Cambridge, Mass., she said.

The enterprise offering, called Critical Move, has the existing messaging server software at the core. But the Critical Move package also has new technology, including Presentation Server 2 and Registered Mail Server, which handles e-mail, calendar and personal address book information. Registered Mail Server allows other applications to use the address book. The Presentation Server will also support links to wireless and handheld devices through SynchML.

Users will either access their e-mail via a Web browser or with a third-party client such as Outlook 2000, said Phil Pridmore-Brown, product manager for Critical Path's enterprise messaging program.

Critical Path software runs on Microsoft Corp.'s NT servers, as well as Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris servers out of the box, but will support other operating systems as the demand arises.

"We are actively looking at Linux and opportunities," Pridmore-Brown said.

Analysts agree that the next big growth of e-mail will be in workers who aren't tied to desktop PCs, so many providers are coming out with messaging products to keep workers in the loop, either through Web-based e-mail or wireless access.

In a related development, Lotus today announced that it's also bundling the wireless access in its Domino Everyplace software directly into its Domino e-mail server software, which is due for release in September.

Lotus also announced that it's upgrading its Notes software to provide archiving capabilities for e-mail in version 3.5 of its Domino.Doc document management software, which is also scheduled to be available by September.

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