NOTES HAS BEEN A BIG WINNER for Lotus Development Corp. The "groupware" program provides an easy way for workers in an organization to collaborate and share information. But Lotus has bigger plans. It inked a deal in March with AT&T to create Network Notes, wedding the software with AT&T's global phone network. The idea: Instead of establishing their own networks to do business electronically, companies can use Network Notes and leave the technical work to AT&T and Lotus.

Now, Network Notes is getting closer to the launchpad. On Nov. 14, four companies, including Compaq Computer Corp. and 3M, began trials. Compaq, for instance, will distribute sales, marketing, and technical information to business partners and customers. An earlier test, at Egghead Software Inc., involved on-line shopping. Network Notes isn't expected to be operational until late 1995.

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