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IBM Refreshes Lotus Quickr

IBM today is expected to announce a new version of its Lotus Quickr product, along with a new tool expressly designed to break down the walls that separate data housed in different file systems.

And Big Blue isn't pulling any punches about who it's targeting with the introduction of the Lotus Quickr Content Integrator, a middleware application that can import content from Microsoft's SharePoint sites, Exchange folders and its own Lotus Domino environments into Lotus Quickr.

"While Microsoft preaches interoperability, IBM (NYSE: IBM) is delivering alternatives to SharePoint that work with a variety of file types and IT infrastructures," the company said in a statement.

Taken together, Lotus Quickr 8.1 and the Content Integrator are the latest in IBM's ongoing push toward more social, collaborative software for the enterprise. It's becoming an increasingly crowded market, as vendors large and small are trying to introduce business applications that mirror the way people use computers in their personal lives.

To that end, IBM's latest aims to enhance workers' control over content at the office, dispensing with the costs and complexities of data migration.

Quickr is essentially a content-access application, where users can pull in different data formats such as documents, photos, videos and other rich-media content. It also taps into IBM's social networking software, such as wikis and blogs.

"While Quickr is a collaboration platform, the integration with our social networking technology will also grow more profoundly," Jeff Schick, IBM's vice president of social networking, told InternetNews.com.

With the new version, IBM is adding plug-ins for Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Symphony, so workers can import content from those applications into team workspaces and content libraries.

Many of the other enhancements to Quickr center around the user interface, Schick said, adding that most are minor tweaks designed to make the navigation more intuitive. Also, administrators will have a dashboard providing reporting on the use of Quickr across a business's workforce.

In a nod to the collaborative needs of companies with international operations, IBM added support for several new languages. Quickr 8.1 now supports 30 languages, Schick said.