Lotus rolls out component, retail strategies

Lotus Development is continuing to make announcements at breakneck speed, unveiling its Kona applet technology and launching a new retail campaign for its SmartSuite product.

Kona is Lotus' Java-based set of applets that perform the core functions of common desktop productivity applications. Due for release in Q3, they are designed to be used when the full functionality of a product is not required.

And while they may not be sold in a shrink-wrapped box as Lotus' software is normally sold, Lotus' general manager for Internet applications development, Larry Roshfeld, says this means no lessening of the commitment to the channel. Roshfeld says that although the final distribution strategy has not been thrashed out, Kona components may be sold through resellers alongside SmartSuite, or in corporate-wide licensing agreements. Either way, the relationship will be between the user and a channel partner, not with Lotus.

Lotus has also launched a retail promotion through Harvey Norman for its SmartSuite product. Called SuiteStakes, the program gives SmartSuite buyers a $50 rebate on the $349 purchase price, but more importantly, puts them in the running to win a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

While the program is currently being run only through Harvey Norman, Lotus' marketing director, Michael Ossipoff, says there is nothing to stop other resellers coming forward with ideas. "It's a retail-specific thing, and they [Harvey Norman] really came up with the idea. But we're more than happy to entertain it with anyone else. We're not disenfranchising any of our other channels, because the same cash-back deal is available to anybody."

Ossipoff said Lotus dealers can expect to see a number of products coming in from Lotus for the retail and reseller environment, such as its Weblicator Internet tool. He said Lotus may also release some of its business partners' applications into retail.