Lotus is about to announce that it will give away its forthcoming Notes 5 client for free to users of cc:Mail, sources said. The company would further try to keep users of its email package loyal by giving away software that lets cc:Mail 6 users access Lotus Domino servers, allowing customers a gradual migration to the newer technology.
With Notes 5 and Domino 5, both due in the second half of 1998, Lotus intends to bridge the gap between its email offerings: the Notes 5 client will be the successor to both the Notes and cc:Mail clients and will connect to cc:Mail servers, and the Domino 5 server is said to include the functionality of cc:Mail. The Notes 5 client sports a new, browser-like interface.
But according to sources, cc:Mail users have been deserting Lotus and migrating to competing products such as Microsoft Exchange. Lotus has been slow to deliver new functionality in cc:Mail, concentrating on its Notes and Domino products, which also offer mail. The promise of a free new client and an easy upgrade path might ease the wait for Notes 5.
Lotus refused to comment on wire reports that it will give away the Notes 5 client for free. A Lotus spokesperson said: "As it stands at this moment, the story is not correct. Lotus is not ready to speak out on this."
However, the spokesperson conceded that the subject of giving away the Notes 5 client was raised at the company's Lotusphere show in Orlando this week. "It is something cc:Mail users have asked", he admitted. "At Lotusphere, Lotus will typically ask for input from customers."
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