International Business Machines Corp., the world's third-biggest software maker, will release an online version of its Lotus programs, LotusLive, in an effort to attract new customers.

With LotusLive, IBM becomes the latest collaboration vendor to deliver collaboration services from the cloud. Microsoft has already done so with Microsoft Online Service. Meanwhile, Cisco and Oracle followed suit with their Web conferencing tools late last year., SAP, Blackberry and Skype are among vendors to confirm today that they will link their software with LotusLive cloud-based groupware service, according to Bloomberg.

LinkedIn, an online network of more than 34 million business professionals, announced today it intends to work with IBM to connect the LinkedIn network with LotusLive.

The plugin's primary purpose is to display information relevant to the people in your e-mails, as well as providing a handy way to browse through some of LinkedIn's most often-used features.

A trial version of LotusLive, called Bluehouse, has been accessed by 15,000 users since it became available a year ago, according to IBM.