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Despite IBM's water-tight-lipped approach to queries regarding Lotus, we have fairly conclusive proof that Lotus has finally succumbed to Big Blue's paternal protection and from July will be little more than name.

What proof? Well reader Ben Rose has pointed out that all the people he knows at Lotus have started dishing out new email addresses, which, far from ending @lotus.com have opted for the far catchier and slightly more corporate @uk.ibm.com.

The modern-day truism: email addresses never lie (well, apart from spoofed ones of course).

Interestingly, (purposefully?) all the PR people at Lotus have retained their lotus.com addresses. At the moment anyway. Fill in the conspiracy theory blanks.

The sucking in of Lotus into the bigger Big Blue started at the beginning of the year when it announced a "restructuring". It pointedly refused to answer questions on whether that meant the end of Lotus' independence.

IBM bought Lotus in 1995 but allowed it virtual free reign to develop its own software products. Microsoft got a little irked with IBM about two years ago, insisting that big deals could only be done if it got rid of Lotus - which was challenging the Beast of Redmond on groupware. IBM refused to budge.

Microsoft still hates Lotus. Which, we suppose, is one reason to like it.

But now it looks as though it had been swallowed lock, stock and barrel. Apparently it will still have its own sales and marketing teams. So that's alright then. ®

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