Trying to capitalise on a white-hot ASP (application service provider) market, Lotus will introduce a version of Notes for ASPs in mid-September as well as agreements with several partners that will help the company run Notes on IBM's or the partners' data centres.

Shortly after the introduction of the product, expected to be shown at next month's Lotusphere Berlin trade show, the company will unveil a service for ISVs (independent software vendors) that allows them to embed a variety of Lotus technologies into their applications simply by calling them via the Web.

Although he declined to offer details of the upcoming product, Lotus President and Chief Executive Officer Al Zollar said that readying a version for the ASP market has been one of his top priorities since taking over the reigns of the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company earlier this year.

"I really think this world of software-as-services is rapidly coming along, and we are going to be aggressive participants in that world," Zollar said.

"This puts us in a much better position to support companies who view themselves as pure-play ASPs, and we are actively developing partnerships with those companies."

Also at Lotusphere Berlin, Lotus will formally launch SameTime 2.0, which will include new capabilities such as automatic language translation, audio and video over IP (Internet Protocol) support, and the capability of running on not only desktop PCs but also on a number of mobile devices such as mobile phones.

Most analysts believe Lotus' decision to deliver an ASP version of Notes is well-timed, given that many larger businesses are looking to outsource applications, including groupware, through an ASP or MSP (managed service provider) model.