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Lotus ships Domino

Lotus begins shipping its next-generation groupware package Domino 4.5, formerly known as Notes.

IBM subsidiary Lotus Development today began shipping its next-generation groupware package Domino 4.5, the company said at New York's Fall Internet World.

In addition to traditional messaging, calendaring, and scheduling and workflow tools, the package comes with the Domino Web server and Domino.Action, an add-on for easy Web site building, plus the Notes client, a Personal Web Navigator Database for retrieving and managing information from the Net. It is also bundled with browsers from Netscape and Microsoft. The groupware tools support POP3 and SMTP MTA for Internet messaging, plus HTML and SSL protocol support. Java applet execution and Netscape plug-in support are also offered, the company said.

With the version launched today, the company has officially changed the branding of its flagship groupware from the well-known Lotus Notes name to Domino 4.5. Lotus officials have said the move is aimed at promoting its new Domino Web server software. Analysts have suggested the change may also help Lotus shed Notes's reputation for being difficult to use and recast itself in a more Net-friendly image.

Lotus, which pioneered groupware, has had to contend with competition from Microsoft, Novell, and a slew of Internet-based start-ups this year. Netscape's plans to launch new SuiteSpot and Communicator groupware products puts added pressure on the company.

The product costs $995 apiece and runs on a variety of platforms, including Microsoft's Windows 95 and NT, Sun's Solaris, Novell's NetWare, and Apple's Macintosh operating systems.

Domino 4.5 Advanced Services, which offer server clustering, partitioning, and billing applications that Lotus has been selling to the telecommunications industry for two years, is also available for an additional $1,000 per server.