Firing a warning shot across Netscape's bows, Lotus says it will ship Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 with Notes and will work with Microsoft to more tightly integrate the two products.
Lotus says Explorer 4.0 will be added to the Lotus Notes 4.6 client package and to an upcoming version of SmartSuite after Explorer 4.0's final release, which is anticipated in September.
Currently, Lotus ships both Explorer and Netscape Navigator 3.x with these products. The future of the Netscape bundling arrangement has been in question since Netscape made public its plans for Communicator 4.0 late last year. The Communicator suite, released in June, includes integrated groupware functionality that directly competes with Notes.
In the last few months, Lotus President Jeff Papows has repeatedly said that Lotus will continue to bundle Netscape client software with Notes only if Netscape breaks out the browser from Communicator. Netscape has not publicly disclosed any plans to do so.
In late June, Lotus and Netscape officials said they were in talks to resolve the issue. But the Netscape questions remain unresolved, according to a Lotus source.
Notes 4.6 will let users browse the Web, forward Web pages by mail, and store Web pages locally.
Notes supports Microsoft's Component Object Model and it will support other Microsoft technologies including the Channel Definition Format for Webcasting, Dynamic HTML, and NT 5.0, Papows said in a written press statement.
Lotus also says its Notes clients will support Microsoft's Active Desktop interface, Active Directory, and Active Server Pages.
Netscape is pushing counterparts to most of these technologies, including the JavaBeans object model, the Meta Content Format for webcasting and other client components, and its own flavor of Dynamic HTML.