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Blackberry to Expand Instant Messaging

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) _ Instant messaging will become a more prominent feature on Blackberrys under separate agreements by Research In Motion Ltd., the maker of the popular wireless e-mail devices, with both America Online Inc. and Yahoo Inc.

The software for AOL Instant Messenger, AOL's ICQ service and Yahoo Instant Messenger will be pre-installed on new Blackberrys in the coming months, the companies said Monday.

Canada-based Research In Motion also plans to allow owners of existing Blackberry models to download those applications to install on their devices.

Instant messaging has been possible on one Blackberry model by using software downloaded from third parties, but this will mark the first time that Research In Motion has installed the applications on its devices.

With more than 2 million of the devices currently in usage, Blackberrys have become one of the most common ways to stay connected to e-mail and the rest of the Internet while away from a desktop or laptop computer.

Increasingly, many Blackberrys are equipped with cell phones as well.

The deals aren't exclusive, leaving the door open for rival services such as Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Messenger to negotiate similar deals with Research In Motion.
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