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Lotus adds groupware tools

Continuing its efforts to provide a smooth upgrade path to its groupware, Lotus will start distributing several email and calendar migration tools.

Continuing its efforts to provide a smooth and enticing upgrade path to its groupware suites, Lotus Development today said it will now start distributing several email and calendar migration tools built by one of its key business partners.

The IBM subsidiary has entered into an agreement with Binary Tree Software to provide the smaller company's migration tools for Novell GroupWise, Netscape Communications Messaging Server and Navigator/Communicator browser messaging components, Qualcomm Eudora, Microsoft Schedule+, and OpenText OnTime email and calendaring products.

Although all major messaging companies provide migration toolsets for moving to their particular products, the decision to do so, and add additional tools, is a competitive necessity.

With today's announcement, Lotus continues its effort to provide users of other groupware products with the right tool for the right path to get to its collaboration and messaging duo Notes and Domino 5.0.

Although all of the major groupware players provide email migration tools for their products, it is more critical to provide tools for the calendar market, said James Kobielus, an analyst with the Burton Group.

"In the calendar market there isn't the stable group of standards in the way there is for messaging," Kobielus said. "Customers now have to go with a mothership product that includes messaging" to have smooth communications between calendaring applications, he said.

The calendaring market, Kobielus concludes, "is up for grabs. This is a real turf war. Migration tools are more important here." The one with the easiest migration path for the calendar has an edge.

Lotus plans to post the free tools on its Web site for upgrading to Notes and Domino 4.x and up on site within the 30 days, where as the tools for Notes and Domino 5.0 will be included with the product when it ships in the fourth quarter.

"We're letting our customers know that we are committed to providing a broad set of tools to migrate from not only our products but all the others as well," said Patricia Hume, the newly appointed general manager for Lotus Messaging.

The company used today's tool release to announce the appointment of Hume to the new position. She came to Lotus from EMC. Before joining EMC, Hume spent 18 years with IBM and the last three of those with Lotus, where she was named director of the merger between Big Blue and Lotus in 1995.

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