Sun and AOL team up on Net projects

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Sun and AOL team up on Net projects

Sun Microsystems and AOL Time Warner are expected to announce their partnership on several Internet-based software projects.

While Sun president and chief executive Ed Zander was tight-lipped about the deal, Mark Tolliver, the company's executive-vice president, said it would revolve around instant messaging (IM) products, enterprise portal development and other applications.

Sun is trying to make headway in instant messaging, adding IM capabilities to its iPlanet Portal Server this week. While the company has geared its IM platform towards corporate users, AOL Time Warner has enjoyed wide success with its messaging tools in the consumer market. The two companies are looking to make their IM platforms interoperable in the future as part of the collaboration.

Both Sun and AOL Time Warner will also work on developing portals designed to attract corporate customers. The portals would include features that let users work on their e-mail and calendar offline. Users would then synchronise their data when connected later to the Internet.

The so-called Enterprise Portals would also have large Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directories. LDAP is a software protocol that helps users find companies, other users and resources such as files on a network.

Sun and AOL Time Warner have worked closely together in the past, sharing ownership of software maker iPlanet E-Commerce Solutions. Sun, however, will take complete ownership of iPlanet in the near future.

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