IBMs Lotus Software division couldnt resist the taste of Apple Computer any longer.
At the companys Lotusphere developer conference in Orlando, Fla., on Monday, IBM announced that the newest version of its messaging software package, Notes 7, which includes e-mail, calendar management tools and instant messaging, will offer new support for the Mac OS X operating system marketed by computer maker Apple.
While older versions of Notes previously offered support for Apples PC software, which is used by only a small minority of enterprise business workers, the company said it was encouraged to add the new integration based on the Mac platforms increasing presence among its customers.
Lotus said that in addition to integrating with Mac OS X in its Notes 7 package, it has launched expanded support for the Apple PC software in its browser-based messaging application, Domino Web Access, but said it is making the tool available only for the Firefox browser marketed by the Mozilla Foundation.
Speaking at the conference, IBM executives said the company will also look to provide expanded support for Apples new computers based on Intel microprocessors, which have already begun to ship. Some experts said they believe the move to Intel chips could improve the Apples presence among business users familiar with the dominant chip makers technologies.
IBM said Lotus 7 has been licensed by approximately 3 million people since launching six months ago, and the Armonk, N.Y., company reported that over 70,000 users have downloaded its Domino 7 server software in the same time period.
In addition to the Apple integration news, Lotus showed off the next generation of Notes at the conference, code-named Hannover, and said it plans to ship the next version of Domino with support for SOA (service-oriented architecture), composite applications and server-managed clients.
That product offering will also feature new portal technologies derived from the companys acquisition of software maker Bowstreet in December 2005, company officials confirmed. The next major updates of Notes and Domino will be available in 2007, Lotus said.
IBM also announced a new package dubbed Lotus Notes Suite for SAP Solutions that is designed to integrate its messaging software with business applications made by the German software provider.
The Lotus software promises to tie the two companies products more closely together for tasks related to calendar management, contact management, report generation and other business functions. The Lotus-SAP package is slated to arrive some time during the first half of 2006.
In addition, the company said it is expanding Notes mobile capabilities via its partnerships with several partners, including Good Technology, Intellisync, Nokia and Research In Motion.
For example, RIM will support Notes 7 and some features in Lotus Sametime collaboration package in its BlackBerry Enterprise Server 4.1, giving additional support for the IBM software in its BlackBerry handheld devices.
Intellisync, which has signed an agreement to be acquired by Nokia, will also release Notes and Domino tools that allow users to send and receive e-mail, files and other data from almost any Nokia mobile device.
Lastly, IBM announced a new initiative known as Move2Lotus on Linux, aimed at luring users to move to Domino from other platforms. Specifically, the effort offers tools and expertise to companies looking to move to IBMs communications server software from rival Microsofts competing Exchange technology.