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Lotus delays groupware beta

Lotus Development says the public beta release of its groupware package Notes and Domino 5.0 will be delayed to later in the fall.

Just more than a month after the company released the beta preview of its groupware package Notes and Domino 5.0, Lotus Development said today the public beta release will be delayed to later in the fall, bringing the fourth-quarter shipping date into question.

Originally due to be released in late August, the public beta of Notes and Domino 5.0 would have let licensed customers have a look at the latest version of the groupware-Web server duo that will feature an improved user interface, enhanced real-time messaging features, and support for Java applets.

A company representative said today that while working to finalize the Notes-Domino 5.0 beta code, "Our development team determined that some of the features could use some additional UI work and as a result, the decision was made early this week to postpone public beta into the latter part of September. The impact on our target of final shipment during the fourth quarter is currently being evaluated."

The company said private beta testing has been extensive. It is currently being evaluated by thousands of business partners and hundreds of customers. Posting a public beta version to the Web is the next step in that process.

The software, previously code-named Maui, combines Internet email, calendering and scheduling, personal document management, newsgroups, browsing, and native HTML authoring into an integrated client that can access standards-based Internet servers. Notes now supports HTML 4.0 and IBM's x.509 client and server certificates. Pricing will be announced later in the year.

Expected to ship the same time as Notes 5.0, Domino 5.0 is the latest version of Lotus' messaging and collaboration software for the Internet, intranets, and extranets, with further support for Internet standards such as LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) v3 and S/MIME, an email security standard. It also features new push services for centralized client updates and graphical planning and administrative tools.