Lotus changes name to reflect IBM integration

IBM Corp. subsidiary Lotus Development Corp. is "moving away" from that name and is now Lotus Software Group, an IBM spokesman said Friday.

The change is part of IBM's "ongoing integration" of Lotus, according to spokesman Joe Stunkard, who said the name switch does not signal any radical changes at Lotus. "They continue to be one of the four major brands within IBM Software," he said. IBM's four software brands are Lotus, Tivoli, DB2 and WebSphere.

Stunkard said he could not comment on whether Lotus Development Corp. is being dissolved as an independent legal entity. Lotus representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

IBM acquired Lotus in 1995, but allowed the company to continue functioning fairly autonomously for several years. Earlier this year IBM and Lotus stepped up their integration efforts, reorganizing Lotus internally and eliminating "redundancies" in their business operations.

Big Blue has been cagey about its integration of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Lotus. While executives in Lotus' offices in Italy and the Philippines have said that Lotus will be completely absorbed by IBM by the end of this year, IBM and Lotus representatives frequently downplay or decline to comment on reports about the integration.

IBM is committed to the Lotus brand and products, Stunkard stressed, adding that Lotus still maintains its own sales and marketing forces. "From an external perception standpoint, people should continue to view Lotus as one of the four brands that IBM has," he said.

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