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Lotus adds to Notes, Domino suite

The IBM unit is integrating Microsoft's Web development tools and RealNetworks' latest video player product.

Lotus Development today said it is making a number of enhancements to its Lotus Notes and Domino collaboration suite that include integrating Web development tools from Microsoft and RealNetworks' latest video player product.

The IBM subsidiary said it will feature support for Microsoft FrontPage and Microsoft Internet Information Server, and accreditation for the Microsoft BackOffice logo.

Shares of RealNetworks soared on the news, while IBM and Microsoft showed modest gains in early trading. RealNetworks was up 25 percent or 6.75 points, to 33.75. The stock has traded as high as 48.25 and as low as 13.5 during the past 52 weeks. IBM was up a more modest 2.45 percent, or 3.13 points, to 130.44. The stock has traded as high as 138.13 and as low as 88.63 during the past 52 weeks.

Microsoft rose 3.03 percent, or 2.94 points, to 99.06. The stock has traded as high as 119.63 and as low as 59 during the past 52 weeks.

At the Domino Developer's Conference in Palm Springs, California, Lotus is introducing Domino Design Components for Microsoft FrontPage, which connect Domino's design capabilities to leading third party HTML authoring tools, allowing Microsoft FrontPage users to create Web sites for Domino. In addition, Lotus is demonstrating how customers can run Domino on their existing Microsoft IIS Web servers and add Domino capabilities to their IIS-based Web site applications.

"Customers want choice in the Web application environment they deploy regardless of the operating system or HTTP engine they have in place. By enhancing our tight integration with Microsoft's tools and platforms, we are continuing our commitment to meet these market needs," Eileen Rudden, senior vice president of Lotus's Communications Products Division, said in a statement.

The move was made both to meet customer demand and to broaden Domino's reach to users of other Web tools other than Domino Designer, Lotus's development tool set.

"Customers told us they wanted to use Web tools of their choice and then use Domino at the same time for what its famous for,"--collaboration and messaging, Cliff Reeves, vice president of Lotus Product Management, said during the keynote at the developer's conference, Lotus's third and the first to be Webcast over the Internet.

Also today, Lotus and RealNetworks announced a strategic distribution, development, and licensing agreement to integrate RealNetworks RealSystem G2 multimedia streaming technology with Lotus Domino and Lotus Notes software products.

The technology would be distributed to 25 million corporate users of its Notes and Domino package. Lotus will include RealNetworks' broadcast software, which enables firms to broadcast speeches or utilize video for things like training, the company said.

Observers say the move would be a blow to Microsoft because Microsoft viewed multimedia at the next big step in Web evolution, and furthers Lotus's efforts to boost its collaboration products with multimedia and real-time technology.

Earlier in the year, Lotus purchased real-time software vendors DataBeam and Ubique and outlined a product strategy based on the acquisitions that heavily incorporates real-time collaboration enhancements.

Today, the company said Lotus Notes clients will integrate RealNetworks RealPlayer G2, so customers can view and hear streamed multimedia content, as well as adding RealEncoder G2 to create multimedia content for others in their workgroup. Lotus Domino Servers will integrate RealServer G2, Workgroup Edition, to enable on-demand business-critical communication and training using streamed RealAudio and RealVideo.

Because of the huge customer base of Domino, "This is a pivotal event in making the Internet the next mass medium," said Len Jordan, senior vice president of Media Systems at RealNetworks.