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IBM offers public Notes service

IBM opens its own doors on a public Notes service.

A little more than three months after AT&T dumped Network Notes in favor of the Internet, IBM is trying to stave off the rush to the intranet for groupware applications by opening its own doors on a public Notes service.

Like Network Notes,IBM InterConnect for Lotus Notes is geared toward small- to medium-sized businesses that want to use Notes for discussion groups, email, database access, and replication but without having to take on the headaches of managing Notes servers.

IBM InterConnect for Lotus Notes, announced today at the Comdex trade show in Chicago, arrives at a time when Internet software is gaining on Notes in the groupware market. According to a recent study by market research firm Input, Notes is entering its last two years of dominance in the groupware arena because of the Internet.

The most slighting example of this trend was when AT&T shut down Network Notes because of lack of customer interest and said it was focusing on Internet solutions instead. IBM's announcement also comes just two weeks before Microsoft announces its own intranet strategy at an event June 13 in San Jose, California.

But IBM, which purchased Lotus Development last July, at least appears undaunted by Notes doomsayers and is moving full steam ahead with its public Notes service. There are other public Notes offerings as well, including the Lotus Notes Network run by CompuServe.

IBM's service will piggyback on the IBM Global Network, which offers a variety of network services, including Internet access around the world. IBM InterConnect for Lotus Notes starts at $2,500 per month, plus a one-time set-up fee of $6,000.

The company plans to offer a second release of the service in the third quarter, which will feature support for Notes version 4.0 and Lotus InterNotes for publishing information on the Web from the Notes service.

Related stories:
Ulysses begins groupware Odyssey
AT&T decides Notes is OK after all
AT&T dumps Network Notes