July 29, 1999 9:40 AM PDT

Lotus boosts learning with Macromedia buy

Lotus Development today said it will purchase a business unit of Web publishing and entertainment tool maker Macromedia to boost its Web-based learning product family.

Under the agreement, Lotus, a subsidiary of IBM, will purchase the Macromedia Pathware business and distribute other Macromedia authoring software for Web-based learning. Pathware is a learning management system.

No financial details were announced. However, a Macromedia executive said he expects the deal to generate $30 million in additional revenue for his company over the next three years.

Lotus claims the new offerings will give its customers a new means of creating, delivering, tracking, and managing Web-based training and course work.

Lotus chairman Jeff Papows said the acquisition adds a missing link to its LearningSpace product family. "What we missed in our portfolio was the self learning component."

There are three pieces to the distributed learning package--online instruction, virtual classrooms with real-time learning technology, and self directed programs for a single user, he explained. "Macromedia's Pathware brings this," to Lotus, Papows said.

The Macromedia group that develops and markets Pathware will become part of Lotus's Distributed Learning Business Group, which develops and markets Lotus LearningSpace, the company's Web-based distributed learning platform. Macromedia will continue to ship, sell, and support Pathware until a transition to the Lotus Distributed Learning Division is completed. Lotus will then sell and support Pathware as a stand-alone product.

Lotus will also distribute Macromedia's Authorware, Director, Attain Objects for Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Flash authoring products. In addition, Lotus will license Macromedia's Shockwave, Flash, and Authorware player technology for use with Lotus and IBM products.


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