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Lotus Debuts Notes 8.5 for Mac After a Long Tease

Almost a year after it announced the beta of Lotus Notes 8.5 for the Mac, IBM has unveiled the finished product yesterday at Macworld 2009.

Notes 8.5, for Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) Mac OS X 10.5 -- AKA "Leopard" -- has several Web 2.0 features, including integration with calendars from Google, Yahoo and other public Internet calendars.

It also has an intelligent storage savings feature that ensures only one copy of an attachment is kept across an entire mail server. This cuts storage requirements by 40 percent, according to IBM (NYSE: IBM).

IBM first unveiled the Notes 8.5 Mac beta in January 2007, and released a newer version of the client for that application in May 2008. This move into the Mac universe is the latest in IBM's aggressive marketing of Lotus Notes -- and its continuing efforts to its rival Microsoft.

Notes 8.5 is closely integrated with other enterprise apps, including IBM's Lotus Sametime unified communications, presence and instant messaging application, and its Lotus Quickr file sharing software. Those capabilities aim to challenge Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) own enterprise collaboration efforts, centering around SharePoint, which the Redmond, Wash. software giant sees as the crux of a billion-dollar opportunity.

Together, the three Lotus offerings enable collaboration among individuals and workgroups, and allow users to set up their own Web pages -- all SharePoint Server's strengths.

IBM also is seeking to tap into Apple's growing presence in the enterprise. In September, it enabled iPhone access to Notes through Lotus iNotes ultralite, a stripped-down version of the application.

And in October, IBM launched Lotus Notes Hosted Messaging, a hosted version of the application.

At Macworld 2009, taking place in San Francisco through the end of the week, IBM also announced Lotus iNotes 8.5, an application that lets anyone with a Notes user license to access Notes through a Safari browser.

Lotus iNotes 8.5 also enables users to integrate their Notes calendar with Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Calendar, and it supports adding widgets -- users can, for example, include a street map as a widget in an e-mail.