IBM-Lotus deal designed to allow office workers to share information


IBM and Lotus Development Corp. plan to announce an alliance based on Lotus software designed to permit groups of office workers to share electronic information and to work on common projects using personal computers.

Analysts and several industry executives said that under an agreement scheduled to be announced at an IBM news conference Monday in New York, International Business Machines Corp. would agree to use an innovative Lotus program called Notes in its OfficeVision desktop software.

The analysts said the Lotus-IBM deal was a good indication of how new software and computer technologies were rapidly changing business alliances and reshaping the computer business.

Notes represents a new style of computing, referred to variously as network or interpersonal computing, that is the fastest-growing sector of the computer industry.

With Notes, computer users can confer on their individual computers, adding comments and reading those of other participants. Corporations are beginning to link thousands of desktop machines, and as a result they are searching for software that harnesses the power of these networks.

IBM confirmed that the company planned a significant software announcement on Monday, but it declined to divulge any of the details.

The agreement is expected to provide a vital lift for both companies.

IBM's OfficeVision, software that performs a variety of basic office applications, has so far had only a lackluster reception from corporateand business users.

Lotus, on the other hand, has been searching for an effective way to market its Notes program, which analysts said required more support from systems departments than other personal-computer programs.

"This is a marriage made in heaven," said Stuart Woodring, an nTC industry analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass.

Mr. Woodring added that by using the Lotus software, IBM would also receive a much-needed lift in the effort to market its OS/2 operating system.

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