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Critical Path Making 'Critical Moves'

Internet messaging firm Critical Path Inc. Tuesday crawled back into the positive spotlight with the announcement of a handful of new services and a partner program.

The San Francisco-based company had been riddled by scandal including the departure of founder David Hayden from the board of directors, an accounting irregularities investigation by the SEC and an accompanying shareholder lawsuit. The company has since put its legal battles to bed.

While Critical Path's customers include more than 700 enterprises, 190 carriers and service providers, eight national postal authorities and 35 government agencies, the company hopes this new maneuver will restore it to its previous glory days.

The company has lost market share to traditional groupware products such as those offered by Microsoft and IBM as well as smaller competitors such as Campbell, Calif.-based Rockliffe.

This time around, the company said it will start aggressively target the enterprise messaging market with its "Critical Move" initiative.

The platform is a mix of the company's messaging and e-mail products with integration technology, migration methodologies, tools and services. In addition to email, calendars and personal address books, the Critical Path messaging solution includes a presentation framework that can provide centralized access to its services via Microsoft Outlook, the Web, wireless devices and voice. The framework also lets the suite to be easily integrated with application servers such as BEA's WebLogic, as well as with enterprise portals.

Offered directly to enterprises or through channel partners, the platform can be delivered as a hosted service or licensed software, through a new Partner Program.

Critical Path said its charter Partner Program team includes the likes of BEA , Entrust , Hewlett-Packard and Netegrity . Partners will be certified at two different levels, Alliance Partner and Business Partner.

The program targets three primary markets: Enterprise Messaging, which includes tools to migrate from, or coexist with, legacy groupware systems; Carrier Messaging with services ranging from e-mail, calendaring, personal address book and online file storage; and Identity Management, which covers meta-directory and directory services

"With the launch of this program we are laying the foundation for a series of significant initiatives aimed at making our partners successful within these three markets," said Critical Path CEO William McGlashan, Jr. "We are truly committed to making our partners a major component of Critical Path's success."

Critical Path's partner organization is led by Patricia Hume, senior vice president, worldwide partners and channels, who previously led the IBM global strategic alliances team, overseeing relationships with 22,000 Lotus business partners.

The messaging solution is available today, and the company plans to make migration methodologies and tools available within 60 days.