Lotus makes content-delivery friends for the intranet

Lotus is polishing partnerships with 11 vendors, including BackWeb and Marimba, and already has a relationship with PointCast.

Lotus this week laid out some more cards in its bid to drive intranet technology.

The company says it will enhance its Domino server with content-delivery features in 1997. It also began shipping Domino 4.5 and said it will release a beta version of Weblicator next week.

The groupware vendor is getting its story together on push technology - a method for proactively delivering data, software, or other material automatically to appropriate users - as the buzz surrounding its potential builds. Lotus is polishing partnerships with 11 vendors, including BackWeb and Marimba. It already has such a relationship with push vendor PointCast.

Lotus is unfazed by Microsoft's recently inked deal with PointCast for BackOffice and bolstered by snags in a previously announced Netscape-PointCast deal.

"We're six months ahead of Microsoft in tuning our server for PointCast. They're are going to be shipping PointCast SmartScreens optimized for Domino," says Keith McCall, director of Internet applications at Lotus, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

One analyst says rival vendors will all support the key push vendors eventually.

"The underlying purchase question is still which offers the most open platform," says Steve Morse of the Burton Group, based in San Francisco.

And Lotus is scrambling to define Notes as an open platform with Domino 4.5 and Lotus Weblicator. Domino 4.5 adds browser access, Java applet execution, Netscape plug-ins, and support for HTTP, POP3, and SMTP.

The Weblicator tool, which allows offline browsing and replication to non-Domino HTTP servers, goes into beta next week and will ship in the first quarter of 1997.

Domino.Broadcast for PointCast and Domino 4.5 are shipping now and Lotus will post the Weblicator beta to its Web site on Dec. 18 and ship it in the first quarter of 1997.

Domino players: Below is a list of software with which Lotus will enhance Domino in the first quarter of 1997

Company Product

BackWeb BackWeb

Cognisoft IntelliServ

DataChannel DataChannel

Diffusion IntraExpress

IBM Cryptolopes Containers

Ifusion Arrive

Marimba Castanet Tuner

Verity Search '97

Worldcom Hosting service

Wayfarer Quickcast

Lotus Development Corp., in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is at http://www.lotus.com.

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