Users mull upgrade to Notes 6.5 release

FRAMINGHAM (09/26/2003) - Some of the new features in Version 6.5 of Lotus Notes and Domino, announced this week, are getting high marks from users tasked with determining whether those features warrant an upgrade.

Scott Melendez, principal information systems engineer for enterprise messaging for the city and county of San Francisco, said users who beta-tested the integrated Notes 6.5 e-mail and instant messaging (IM) client welcomed its similarity to Microsoft Corp.'s Outlook.

Among the popular additions is a follow-up folder into which a user can put incoming e-mails that require a response. Also getting high marks, he said, are new symbols that appear next to an e-mail when a user has responded to the message or forwarded it, making it easier to keep track of the status of messages.

"Those small things make a difference for end users" by aiding productivity and making e-mail chores easier, Melendez said. The addition of Outlook-like features is a welcome development, he said.

An IT manager at a large pharmaceutical company who asked not to be identified agreed that Notes 6.5 brings welcome updates. "We'll probably go with 6.5 on the client," she said.

She said a key new feature is the deep integration of e-mail with IM. The new built-in IM capabilities were formerly part of the separate Lotus Sametime application.

But for many users, the arrival of Version 6.5 is a nonevent. Perry Hiltz, a systems engineer at consumer and industrial products manufacturer Henkel Corp. in Dusseldorf, Germany, said he's still working to roll out last year's Notes 6 upgrade to 35,000 global users and hasn't even had a chance to look at Notes 6.5. Henkel users are still running the Notes 5 client and won't begin moving to Notes 6 until the end of 2004, he said.

Spam Buster

IBM's Lotus Software Group said Notes and Domino 6.5 will be available soon. Among the new features is a "block mail from sender" option that allows users to train their Notes client to stop spam that gets through corporate network controls.

Pricing starts at US$89 per user for the basic Notes 6.5 e-mail client and $1,145 per processor for Domino Messaging Server 6.5. For more full-featured e-mail and collaboration versions, pricing begins at $125 per user and $2,964 per processor for Domino Enterprise Server 6.5.

Also available is a stand-alone Web-based version called Domino Utility Server 6.5, which starts at $15,067 per processor and lets companies write collaborative applications for Domino that can be accessed through Web browsers without separate client software.

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