The public beta release of version 8.0 of IBM's Lotus Notes collaboration and e-mail platform -- which missed its February release target -- will be made available in early March.
"We expect we'll deliver the public beta in the first two weeks of March," Lotus vice president for development and support, Alistair Rennie, told attendees at a Lotus conference in Melbourne today.
First announced at IBM's Lotusphere conference in January, Notes 8.0 represents the latest salvo in the ongoing battle between IBM and Microsoft for dominance of the enterprise e-mail space.
At the time of its announcement, IBM officials said that a public beta would be made available in February. Around 250 design partners are currently taking part in a controlled beta program.
Rennie conceded that Notes had suffered in the marketplace because of a perception that its user interface lagged behind that of Microsoft's rival Exchange/Outlook combination. "The user experience on Notes had gotten dated, to be blunt," he said during his presentation.
One long-delayed feature which version 8.0 will include is message recall, which enables users to recall messages if they have not been accessed by the receiver. Group policy tools to allow that feature to be customised haven't yet been added to the beta.
Notes 8.0, which IBM is hoping to release by mid-year, sees Big Blue re-engaging in a battle for the desktop productivity space, a market largely dominated by Microsoft in recent years.
The product will include built-in word processor, spreadsheet and presentation programs that make use of the IBM-championed Open Document Format (ODF).