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IBM is banging the drum for a new desktop software bundle, centred around Lotus WorkPlace and OpenOffice. The pitch is simple: it's cheaper and more secure than a Microsoft-only technology, or as IBM puts it: "Customers will no longer have to deal with separate and distinct applications on the Web and their desktop PCs - receiving the benefits of a single model of client computing".

IBM is basing its client push upon a component-based software architecture called client middleware, enabling the applications to run on any platform. Central administration is delivered through Tivoli software. Both features are trumpeted as cost savers.

The company is betting on people's desire to access corporate information using a variety of devices during the day. Applications and data will be stored on a central server and middleware will allow it to be viewed from a variety of different gadgets. The idea being that staff will access this with different devices at different times of day.

The Lotus Workplace Messaging software lets people access calendars, email and web browsing through a central server. The software will work on Linux, Windows, Symbian and unix. Mac OSX will get support later this year. IBM will also offer Open Office applications.

Workplace Documents software offers users presentations, spreadsheets and other documents. Users will pay a $2 monthly fee. ®

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