Lotus To Unveil Host Of Workplace Offerings In 4Q

The Cambridge, Mass.-based company also plans to reveal in the fourth quarter details about other Workplace offerings for document management and team rooms, said Alan Lepofsky, senior technical marketing manager for Lotus Software at IBM.

Lotus considers its forthcoming Lotus Notes 6.5 client to be part of its Workplace line, Lepofsky said.

The forthcoming Notes/Domino 6.5 Workplace, which is due to be released to manufacturing at the end of the month and debuted with other Workplace offerings, provides seamless integration with the company's instant messaging offering, including access to Instant Contact list and presence awareness icons next to e-mails in the newly redesigned Notes interface.

The first offering in the company's Workplace line, Lotus Workplace Messaging, was launched in May. The Lotus products are being re-engineered as Web-based, J2EE components that integrate well within IBM's WebSphere portal environment.

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Executives also hinted that Lotus will hand out at LotusSphere early next year a single CD with all Workplace components on it as part of its on-demand strategy.

Lepofsky acknowledged that the new Workplace offerings--including IM, Web conferencing, team rooms and Notes 6.5--are a counteroffensive against Microsoft's planned launch this month of Office Live Real-Time Communications Server and Outlook 2003 as part of the Office Systems 2003 and Live Meeting Service.

Still, Lepofsky said Lotus is well ahead of Microsoft. "It's a miniscule piece of what Workplace will do," he said referring to Microsoft's Real-Time Communications Server. "Workplace is all about collaborative services people need for their business processes."

Executives acknowledged that Notes/Domino and Lotus Workplace Messaging will become one offering over time, but said the company intends to keep developing the Notes and Domino products separately from Workplace for now to allow for broad corporate choices. The next release, Notes/Domino 7.0, will give customers the option of using the Notes file system (NFS) in Notes or IBM's DB2 database.

In the meantime, developers have the option of exposing Notes and Domino applications as portlets within WebSphere portal, executives said.