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Startups Tame IM Beast

While most storage startups know theyll run into established players sooner or later, three upstarts today find themselves in a high-growth area where no public companies tread -- instant messaging (IM) management.

Akonix Systems Inc., FaceTime Communications Inc., and IMlogic Inc. are looking to cash in on the growth of IM, spurred by the rise of federal regulations as well as companies looking to increase productivity (see Akonix Provides FDIC IM Compliance, FaceTime Communications, and Random Walk Intros Power5 Solutions). The three startups have raised $43 million in funding over the past year while battling for market share.

While email-archiving startups have been frequent acquisition targets of larger players, the IM management guys have been left on their own for now. The Radicati Group Inc., a research firm specializing in messaging markets, lists the three as the leaders in the IM management segment.

“All three are growing well, and are pretty much the top dogs in the realm of managing enterprise IM,” Radicati analyst Genelle Hung says.

While the startups sprung up to help manage public IM offered by AOL, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), and Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), they’re now tweaking their features to handle enterprise IM software from Microsoft and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM).

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