On 2 November 2005, MessageLabs announced it has agreed to acquire hosted-IM system vendor Omnipod. Terms were not disclosed. MessageLabs will continue to operate the Omnipod network and plans to offer hosted-IM hygiene services.
This acquisition deal underscores key trends in the growing market for messaging services:
Although Omnipod is mainly used in companies desiring secure hosted services, it also provides unofficial gateway services to the "big three" public IM networks (America Online, Yahoo and MSN). We expect MessageLabs will formalize these relationships to offer a supported link with the networks (as do IM proxy server vendors such as Akonix Systems, FaceTime Communications and IMlogic).
Omnipod offered only rudimentary hygiene services between its private network and the public networks, and we expect MessageLabs to focus most Omnipod development on this hygiene layer, offering — as Postini does with partner IMlogic — hosted IM hygiene services. MessageLabs will continue to offer the hosted Omnipod IM system service, and is likely to sell it in its home area (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) where Omnipod lacked a presence. Although the Omnipod service requires a proprietary client, we expect MessageLabs will offer hygiene services for a range of clients, including public networks as well as commercial offerings such as IBM Lotus Sametime and Microsoft Office Live Communication Server.
This acquisition advances MessageLabs' long-term strategy to grow via acquisition and in-house development, adding new hygiene services such as disaster recovery, archiving, encryption and regulatory compliance, initially for IM and e-mail, and then for VoIP and SMS. We expect MessageLabs' competitors will follow a similar path.
Analytical Source: Matt Cain, Gartner Research
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