IBM has launched Lotus Foundations Branch Office and has updated its Lotus Foundations line of small business software servers based on Linux.
Lotus Foundations, launched at Lotusphere last year, is a hardware and software system that helps companies with up to 500 employees to communicate by providing tools such as email, office productivity apps, file sharing and back-up and recovery.
The system is built on IBM's Express Advantage programme, and aimed at small to medium sized businesses (SMBs).
The updated version, Lotus Foundations Start 1.1, will allow customers to run Microsoft Windows applications inside a Lotus Foundations environment.
Kevin Cavanaugh, Lotus messaging and collaboration vice president, explained at Lotusphere 2009 that the aim was to allow SMBs to quickly take advantage of Lotus offerings with no disruption to their business.
"Although IBM has a broad commitment to Linux, and we are willing to work with small businesses to transfer to a Linux platform, we know that many of them cannot wait. This is why we are offering a quick way with a new package," he said.
Meanwhile, the new Lotus Foundations Branch Office is targeted at large enterprises with many remote offices that do not have onsite IT and that run Lotus Domino software.
The appliance will allow users to extend existing skills and data to remote offices quickly and efficiently, according to IBM.
The company told Lotusphere attendees last year that the launch of the new SMB software portfolio was intended to take advantage of the growing market.
Robert Anderson, senior Gartner analyst for small and midsized business soft ware, said at Lotusphere 2009: "I am seeing IBM target this market with more persistence that ever before."
He added that IBM's announcement concerning its LotusLive social networking and collaboration service, and its integration with Skype, LinkedIn and Salesforce.com, is another ideal product for the SMB market.
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