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New Lotus Notes software offers a single interface

K-station, due this fall, lets office workers use a single interface to access, manage and share business information stored in databases and other content sources.

In the latest move to protect its lead in the groupware market against main rival Microsoft, Lotus Development today unveiled new software for its Notes application that allows workers to control and manage corporate information on their desktop client.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based division of IBM presented the software, called K-station, at its user conference in Berlin. K-station enables office workers to access, manage and share business information stored in databases and other content sources through a single interface.

Due in the fourth quarter, the software lets users control the information, such as email, calendar and document content, displayed on their computer screen. Pricing for the new product will be announced in the fourth quarter.

"K-station allows users to have most of Lotus' core collaborative tools displayed in the same interface," said Scott Cooper, vice president of knowledge management products at Lotus.

The new software is the first product to be delivered from the Lotus project code-named Raven, which, in addition to K-station, also includes server software that is now in beta and that will be released the first quarter of next year, the company said.

As earlier reported, Raven comprises most of the knowledge management technology developed by the company over the past few years, including its real-time collaboration software, SameTime, and the messaging and collaborative infrastructure of Domino and Notes.

Besides being an enhancement to Notes, K-station will be sold as a standalone product, Cooper said.

The company also has announced the public beta of the latest version of SameTime 2.0, which allows instant communication over the Web. This release offers language translation for multilingual communications and audio and video capabilities for multimedia presentations.

In addition, Lotus introduced new technology for its Domino server that gives users greater access to files from Microsoft Office and Outlook, and IBM's WebSphere Application Server.

Lotus competes in the groupware market against Microsoft and Novell.