Enterprise corporate software and Comdex don't usually go together, but with a potential audience of over 200,000 computer addicts swarming into Las Vegas next week, why not?
Microsoft, Lotus, and Borland International are among the companies who will address the concerns of corporate customers by releasing new software for networked computers.
In conjunction with the hype surrounding low-cost alternatives to PCs, the Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft will cover its bases with the beta release of a technology for its Windows NT Server operating system, currently code-named Hydra. Hydra allows multiple types of clients to access desktop applications residing on a server.
The initial version of Hydra, constructed with the aid of software makers Citrix and Prologue Software, is designed to run on top of current versions of Windows NT Server 4.0. Future development of the technology will be placed in the core, or "kernel," of the software starting with the release of Windows NT 5.0, making it easier to add the service.
The technology consists of client- and server-based software components and may provide capabilities for the large number of task-specific "dumb terminals" that have previously been connected almost exclusively to mainframes.
The company will also launch the public version of Exchange 5.5. The latest version of Microsoft's groupware suite, code-named Osmium, will support Internet standards such as IMAP4 and LDAP3, and has enhanced interoperability technologies that were expected after the company acquired email software maker LinkAge Software in July.
Microsoft announced two versions of Exchange 5.5, a standard release and an Enterprise Edition that includes support for increased storage capacity. Size limits have been increased such that storage is limited only by the hardware on which Microsoft Exchange is hosted, according to the company.
Lastly, Microsoft will trot out an update to its Outlook messaging client software. As previously reported on November 12 by CNET's NEWS.COM, Outlook 98 adds support for a whole slew of Internet standards, like IMAP4, LDAP, and S/MIME. It also includes support for Internet calendaring standards, like iCal and vCal, which allow users to share schedule information over the Web. Support for vCard, an emerging standard for electronic business cards, is also part of the new package.
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Lotus Development will demo a number of packages next week at the show. Lotus Notes and Domino 4.6 will be trotted out, along with Domino Intranet Starter Pack for business email, calendaring, information sharing, and collaboration across intranets and the Internet.
The $1,695 package includes the Domino interactive Web application server, Internet mail, calendaring capabilities, 12 business applications, and a choice of five copies of Lotus Notes Desktop clients, Microsoft's Internet Explorer, or Netscape.
Lotus will also demo new synchronization software that will allow 3Com PalmPilot and IBM WorkPad users to share calendars, contacts, to-do, and memo data with Notes and Organizer users.
Lotus will also preview its built-in speech recognition device, ViaVoice, for its desktop application WordPro. The product allows users to dictate text to their computers.
Development tool maker Borland will show off new versions of its JBuilder and Delphi tools. JBuilder Client/Server Suite includes the JBuilder Java toolset, database server software, and related middleware. Pricing has not been announced. Delphi Enterprise adds the company's Entera and Midas middleware to the basic Delphi package. Pricing starts at $45,000.