Lotus to deliver Notes R5 after several delays

After much delay, Lotus Development this week will begin shipping its Release 5 (R5) upgrade of the Notes and Domino platform, meeting its most recently revised delivery schedule.

By the end of this month, customers will be able to order and download the final product code for R5 of Notes, Domino, and the Domino Designer development suite, according to Lotus spokesman Paul Davis.

CD-ROMs will hit the loading docks shortly thereafter, Davis said.

The delay should not dent the company's market share in the long run, according to David Marshak, an analyst at the Patricia Seybold Group, a market research company in Boston.

"It may have caused damage for some accounts, and they may have lost revenue from some companies that have wanted to begin testing and implementing R5, but overall, I don't think there will be a major effect," Marshak said. "For most customers, it's not a question of when [Lotus delivers] R5 as much as R5.01."

For some enterprises, internal testing and deployment of such a major upgrade usually occurs six months after shipment, Marshak noted.

Microsoft's inability to capitalise on Lotus' delay due to its own lagging platform upgrades also mitigates potential damage to Lotus, Marshak added.

Separately, Lotus at the Electronic Messaging Association, or EMA, meeting in Dallas will tout its directory strategy and extensions of the Domino platform, and will announce a messaging partnership and joint product offering, according to company officials.

The company's new messaging strategy focuses on such emerging areas as Internet standards, instant messaging, collaborative computing, and the company's knowledge management initiative, according to David Ferris, president of Ferris Research, a market research company in San Francisco.