US Report: Lotus says no to Novell

IBM's Lotus subsidiary has made public a decision already made this year: it won't be porting its Notes/Domino 5.0 product to Novel's NetWare.

"The decision [against porting to NetWare] was actually made in the latter part of last quarter," said a Lotus spokesperson. "The information was supposedly communicated to Novell at that point."

In fact, Lotus had not committed definitively at any point to porting Notes/Domino 5.0 to NetWare. In January at its Lotusphere conference in the US, when it formally rolled out plans for Notes/Domino 5.0, Lotus said it would make the product available on NT, the AS/400 and S/390 platforms and on various Unix flavours. At the same time, however, Lotus dangled the possibility that NetWare compatibility might not be completely out of the picture. At its Notes/Domino 5.0 announcement in January, Lotus said that the product would be "server-agnostic" and would run on "servers that support HTTP, HTML 4.0, LDAP, NNTP, IMAP, X.509 and POP."

Earlier in the year, "we weren't certain what we'd do" in terms of cross-platform Notes 5.0 support, Davis said. "We looked at things like return on investment, where the installed base was occurring, and other factors and made our decision." The Lotus spokesperson noted that the company could still reconsider its decision not to make Notes/Domino 5.0 available on NetWare. "But as the Release 5 development process has already gone forward substantially, it wouldn't be possible for us to deliver R5 on NetWare at the same time we deliver first-customer-ship for other platforms," he cautioned.

Notes/Domino 5.0 has been in private beta test among select customers for a number of months. A public and full-featured beta 1 is expected within a month, Lotus officials said, with final commercial shipment still planned for the end of this year.

Novell officials refused to comment on any aspect of Lotus' decision regarding Notes/Domino 5.0 on NetWare. Over the past few months, Novell has rolled out several migration tools designed to move Notes and cc:Mail customers to Novell's own messaging offering, GroupWise.