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Lotus To Ship New Domino/Notes With Integrated Instant Messaging

Lotus Domino and Notes 6.5 will be available for download Sept. 30, according to IBM's Lotus Software group.

The new Notes client software integrates instant messaging (IM) functionality and improved Linux client support.

The new Notes inbox now integrates Lotus Instant Messaging (once known as SameTime) and provides a single point of access to a variety of functions and features, said Tim Kounadis, senior marketing manager for IBM Software's Lotus Software group.

The IM integration should please IM addicts who will no longer have to toggle in and out of that application. They can immediately see from their inbox if a sender or recipient is online. Lotus partners and ISVs can also use that facility to "IM-enable" their own collaborative applications, Kounadis said.

That integration also means that a Notes user can receive a message with a "cc:" field and start a chat session with all of those recipients if they're online.

Domino Web Access now supports the open-source Mozilla browser.

Lotus, as promised, also bulked up client-side spam controls so a user can block mail from any particular sender. New "Quick Rules" features lets nonprogramming users set up rules and workflows based on who the sender is and what words are in the subject field, etc., he said.

The rush is on to provide corporate users, many of whom got the IM habit from consumer products such as AOL Instant Messenger, with a secure, archiveable realtime communication platform. Lotus SameTime was a pioneer in that fight.

Microsoft has said it will ship Office Live Communications Server 2003 in the third quarter, so the clock is ticking. The standard edition of that software which requires Windows Server 2003, is priced at $949 per server and $35 per user.

IBM Lotus, which has lead the early field in corporate instant messaging, now faces intense competitive pressure not only from Microsoft but from enterprise-ready IM products from America Online and Yahoo.

While IM and collaboration appear merged on the Notes client, users need both the Domino and Instant Messaging software on their servers. Domino Messaging Server 6.5 starts at $1,145 per processor, while the Domino Enterprise Server 6.5 starts at $2,964 per processor. Notes 6.5 with a Messaging license starts at about $90 per user and a full collaboration license starts at $125 per user.

To jump-start demand, Lotus is offering customers that are on maintenance for either Domino messaging or utility servers a free 20-user license for IBM WebSphere Express and 20 Lotus Instant Messaging and Web conferencing licenses with support for a year.

"We want to show people the possibilities of taking existing Notes and Domino applications and surfacing through portal infrastructure," Kounadis said.

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