Microsoft has produced a series of new tools to help people move from Lotus Notes to its Exchange Server. The release comes less than a week before IBM's annual conference for Lotus users.

The new tools, plus updates to similar, previous tools, are part of a wider strategy launched in August last year, and Microsoft will continue to add new resources, said group product manager Roger Murff.

There are two free software tools, the Microsoft Application Analyzer 2006 for Lotus Domino and Microsoft Data Migrator 2006 for Lotus Domino, Murff said. Both will soon appear for download on Microsoft's website.

Microsoft Applicatin Analyzer describes existing Lotus applications and recommends to what Microsoft collaboration environment the applications can most easily migrate. Microsoft Data Migrator takes key information from Lotus Notes templates and moves them to a Windows Sharepoint Services Web site for use with a Microsoft-based collaboration application.

Microsoft is also introducing three Windows Sharepoint Services application templates - Discussion Database, Team Room and Document Library - that have a similar look and feel to Notes templates. They will be available tomorrow.

Microsoft and IBM, between them, own the bulk of the market for business messaging and collaboration software. Both companies say they routinely migrate customers from each other's collaboration software to their own.