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"IBM's Lotus unit will introduce a set of social networking services Monday that functions like a MySpace for office workers and which analysts say marks a renewed challenge to Microsoft Corp.
Peter O'Kelly, a collaboration software expert with Burton Group, said: "This is going to rekindle the competition between Microsoft and IBM, I think IBM is playing offense here... O'Kelly said IBM's Web software could cause many corporate buyers who stopped considering Lotus Notes a decade ago to reconsider their reliance on Microsoft's rival software suite."
Connections combines five components: member profiles, activities, blogs, communities and "dogear" - IBM's word for how users identify and share Web bookmarks with colleagues. Connections uses the popular Web navigation technique of "tagging" to help users track popular discussion topics and figure out who may have expertise on any subject. The software provides a way for individuals to quickly set-up ad hoc groups to collaborate on projects, storing relevant documents, e-mails and Web sites together. Each user can publish blogs to share ideas with colleagues.
"What Web 2.0 has demonstrated is that self-defining communities often do a better job of locating relevant information," IBM software chief Steve Mills said. "This helps with the rapid identification of expertise and experts."
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Other announcements include Lotus Quicker - a new web 2.0 collaborative content platform, Lotus Sametime 7.5.1 featuring expanded unified communications, and Lotus Notes and Domino 8 beta program.
Visit Lotusphere Complex in Second Life, first time IBM has run a customer conference simultaneously in both the real and virtual worlds (http://slurl.com/secondlife/ibm 9/34/58/23/)