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Lotus rings in with BellSouth

Lotus unveils a marketing and sales deal with the Baby Bell to offer messaging services to midsized firms.

    On the eve of what is expected to be the launch of a new version of Notes/Domino, Lotus today unveiled a marketing and sales pact with BellSouth's business unit to offer messaging services to midsized companies.

    As part of the deal, BellSouth will outsource applications based on Lotus's Domino messaging package to medium-sized businesses in its nine-state Southeast region.

    "Typically businesses [of this size] don't have large budgets for Information Technology departments to implement messaging strategies," BellSouth's Will Scherer, director of managed network applications, said. "We think a Lotus Notes/Domino solution managed by BellSouth will meet this need."

    Initially, BellSouth will offer Notes and Domino Release 4.6 to its clients. The company will offer Notes and Domino R5, the new version of its groupware that is expected to be released tomorrow, as part of the hosted program later in the year, the companies said.

    The Baby Bell will offer a hosted service where it will manage mailboxes, and calendar and scheduling services for businesses, as well as overall network and server administration. Notes client software will be bundled as part of this option.

    BellSouth will combine Domino servers with its own data networking equipment, and will integrate outsourcing and professional services to provide companies with a managed messaging infrastructure to be hosted at BellSouth remote centers. The service will carry a $20 installation fee and start at $36 per month, per user.

    For companies that choose to have servers shipped to their site and managed by BellSouth, prices vary based on the number of servers needed and their configuration, said Scherer.