Some-time adversaries Lotus and Microsoft have announced their closest partnership yet with the groupware vendor agreeing to ship Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 with Lotus Notes. The deal draws a question mark over Lotus? licensing deal with Netscape.
IE 4.0 will be added to the Lotus Notes 4.6 client package, as well as to the forthcoming release of Smartsuite. Notes 4.6 is expected to ship in September.
More importantly, Lotus has agreed to support Microsoft?s Component Object Model, as well as CDF for webcasting. Support for COM allows for a more integrated environment for cross-platform tasks such as serving Microsoft Excel sheets from a Lotus Domino-developed Web page or using Microsoft Word as an email editor in Notes.
The agreement puts the spotlight on Lotus? troubled licensing agreement with Netscape. The two companies came to blows earlier in the year when Netscape refused to unbundled the client and server portions of Communicator 4.0. This is because the Communicator server has many groupware functions which would rival Lotus Notes.
Netscape said it has agreed to unbundle Navigator and Netcaster from Communicator 4.0 and next week, will announce that it is to offer it free to developers and PC manufacturers, including Lotus.
Sam Sethi, Netscape?s UK marketing manager confirmed Lotus has agreed to ship Navigator 4.0 as part of an ongoing licensing agreement. ?We?ve unbundled Navigator 4 with Netcaster, primarily to redress the problem we had with Lotus,? he said.
The unbundled Navigator will be offered with Netcaster, Netscape?s push technology, which Sethi said will fit in well with Lotus? own Domino.Broadcast strategy.
However, Jim Moffat, Lotus? UK email and groupware product marketing manager said he had no comment to make on whether a deal with Netscape was forthcoming, but added, ?we have no plans to make a similiar announcement.? Lotus? new found closeness with Microsoft -- Lotus? number one enemy in the groupware world -- was met with surprise.
One industry pundit blamed Netscape?s original refusal to meet Lotus? demands as the catalyst for the partnership. ?Netscape has driven Lotus into the arms of its enemy,? he said.
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