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-- by Joseph C. Panettieri
Microsoft and Novell continue to play follow the leader in the groupware arena. Now that market leader Lotus has shipped Domino 4.5, a rebranded Notes server release with integrated support for NT and the Internet, Microsoft and Novell are countering with their own groupware upgrades.
To be sure, groupware remains a hot seller. Lotus Notes enjoys more than 10 million users, followed by Novell GroupWise (7 million plus) and Microsoft's 1-year-old Exchange Server (1 million)
Eager to catch the competition, Microsoft has shipped Exchange Server 5.0. It supports Internet mail (POP3) clients, Internet news (NNTP) readers and LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) directory clients. It also lets Web browsers access electronic mail, scheduling and discussion applications based on Exchange Server. Microsoft originally planned to name this upgrade version 4.5. But when the software giant decided to add more Internet features, the version number was pumped up to 5.0.
Novell gets wise to the Web
Also hot on Domino's heels is Novell, which is preparing an upgrade to GroupWise 5.0 that offers integrated imaging support and extended links to Novell Directory Services (NDS). Novell also is readying Java-based versions of its various GroupWise client software, and putting the final touches on its so-called Jefferson Project, which will let GroupWise users create and manage documents for the Web and intranets.
While Domino, Exchange Server and GroupWise each run on NT, only Novell has failed to aggressively target Windows NT shops that want groupware. Novell insiders concede that the NetWare division would be less than pleased if its GroupWise comrades made a major marketing push on NT. "NetWare is still the big thrust," said one GroupWise manager at Novell. "But the point will come when we have to give NT equal billing."
Exchange Server, after all, is only available for NT, and the fastest selling platform for Lotus Notes and Domino, according to IBM, is NT. If GroupWise sales are to keep pace, Novell must improve NetWare's reputation as an application server, or more fully embrace NT.
Copyright (c) 1997 CMP Media Inc.