Sidebar: IBM Ripens Notes for Macintosh

ORLANDO -- IBM's Lotus Software Group revealed a major shift in its Notes for Mac strategy with the unveiling of a new version of the collaboration software at last week's Lotusphere 2006 conference here.

Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president of development for Lotus clients, solutions and tools in IBM's software group, acknowledged that the updates are overdue. "We have sort of let Mac versions slip, so we're fixing that," he said.

Version 7.02 of Notes for the Mac, slated to ship in the third quarter, will include Lotus Sametime instant messaging software and support for Macintosh computers that run on Intel chips. Notes 7.02 for the Mac will run on the Mac OS X 10.4 operating system, also known as Tiger.

"We're committed to it," Cavanaugh said of the Notes Mac version. "We're going to be consistent across Mac, Windows and Linux in functionality and releases."

Vijay Sonty, CIO of Broward County Public Schools in Sunrise, Fla., said the move to improve Notes on the Macintosh is a big deal for his operation, which supports 275,000 students, 19,000 teachers and 231 schools. The district has a $200 million technology budget that includes $100 million for IT.

"This is a step in the right direction," Sonty said. "IBM is recognizing that there is a market for other operating systems."

For users, Sonty said, the improved Notes offering will enrich collaboration and communications with other users, regardless of their operating systems.

Meanwhile, Lotus also added Macintosh support for Domino Web Access, IBM's browser-based messaging client, for users running the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox browser. That support will be available in the third quarter of this year.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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