IBM unveils latest products at Lotusphere

IBM's Lotus software group launched its Lotusphere user show in Orlando yesterday with a flurry of announcements about upcoming...

IBM's Lotus software group launched its Lotusphere user show in Orlando yesterday with a flurry of announcements about upcoming products.

Heading the list is a still-unnamed e-mail system aimed at corporate customers who are not seeking a full messaging suite such as Lotus Notes.

The Java-based software will take advantage of technologies across IBM's portfolio, including its DB2 database, portal framework and mobile-access features. It is now in beta testing and is scheduled to ship during the second quarter. Lotus vice-president of messaging and advanced collaboration Ken Bisconti said the price tag would beround $5 to $10 per user, per month.

IBM also revealed plans for an e-learning product to replace its LearningSpace training software. The IBM Lotus Learning Management System is intended as an end-to-end e-learning platform, with a range of content delivery and management options and connections to other enterprise software such as enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and human resources systems.

IBM will continue to support LearningSpace, but will steer new customers towards the Lotus Learning Management System.

The system runs on IBM pSeries servers (running IBM's AIX operating system), Microsoft Windows NT/2000, Linux on Intel processors, and Sun's Solaris operating system. Supported databases include IBM's DB2, Oracle and SQL. An English version of the software will be out late February, with other languages following in the next few months. The software will be available through Lotus resellers, at a suggested price of around $60 per user.

IBM said it would continue to integrate its portfolio with technology from throughout its software group.

New collaboration capabilities will be included in the next version of IBM's WebSphere Portal software, based on Lotus technology, allowing users to work with applications such as corporate white pages, organisational charts, instant messages and team workplace. Users will be able to search for colleagues throughout organisational directories and initiate contact via instant messaging, or track from their portal interface and interact with workplaces to which they belong.

Also on the integration front, IBM was preparing to release the IBM Lotus Domino Toolkit for WebSphere Studio. The kit will make it easier for developers using WebSphere Studio to build Domino capabilities into their applications, and will be available as a free download from IBM's Web site. A beta version is available now at www.lotus.com/ldd/beta.

Finally, IBM will release Lotus Sametime Everyplace 3, the latest version of its mobile instant-messaging software, later this year. This version will support Pocket PC and Palm OS handhelds.

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