Lotus to release SmartSuite 97 inside a fortnight

Lotus will storm back into the suite wars inside a fortnight.

The IBM-owned subsidiary will turn the spotlight on the Internet when it releases SmartSuite 97, by including both Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer with the suite. Also helping to push Lotus's reputation for groupware know-how will be text searching based on technology licensed from Yahoo!, SmartMaster templates for Web publishing and Web-based group scheduling, as well as enhanced tools for data sharing and collaborating.

At the heart of SmartSuite will remain new versions of WordPro, 1-2-3, Freelance Graphics, Approach, Organizer and the ScreenCam screen movie capture utility.

Lotus will market the product as faster and more intuitive than Microsoft Office which has been panned by some critics for its huge system requirements. Pricing will remain the same as for the previous version at £399 + VAT, or £149 + VAT upgrade. "We're working on a global English product basis now so it should ship at exactly the same time [as the US version of the product]," said Pam Mills, product marketing manager at Lotus.

Lotus recently announced that it plans to release ActiveX and Java app-lets under the Lotus Components banner.

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