Looking to bolster its position in the portal software market, Computer Associates International Inc. next year plans to start bundling its CleverPath Portal application with content management, data analysis and rules-based automation tools.

CA executives recently detailed plans to build those technologies into the portal and said some of the promised enhancements will become available in the coming months. The company hopes to use the upgraded portal server to take on IT middleware vendors such as IBM Corp., as well as developers of business intelligence software, said Ricardo Antuna, senior vice-president of CleverPath marketing at CA. But CA doesn’t plan to demonstrate a complete version of the expanded portal application to users until its CA World conference in July, Antuna said. He added that the company has yet to set a specific time-frame for shipping the full release, which will include a mix of its own existing tools that have been specially integrated. When it’s ready, the beefed-up software will include new support for managing the use of corporate documents as well as features, such as the ability to set the software to trigger automated actions within applications.

AOL developing e-mail client with integrated IM

America Online Inc. is developing a stand-alone e-mail client with integrated instant-messaging software, presumably aimed at competing with Microsoft Corp.’s Outlook application.

Dubbed AOL Communicator, the software is targeted at heavy users of AOL’s Instant Messenger and advanced e-mail users, an AOL spokesperson has confirmed. Communicator is in the early beta-testing phase, and it is too early to say what features the product will have or when it will be released, the company said. AOL’s move into the stand-alone e-mail market could enable it to hit three birds with one stone – letting the Internet giant grab more corporate users, diversify its revenue stream and nip at one of rival Microsoft’s strongholds. The ISP recently launched a corporate instant-messaging product, just as Microsoft was preparing to unveil its own.

IBM upgrades WebSphere

IBM Corp. has announced Version 5.0 of its WebSphere Application Server, emphasizing Web services, e-business, and mainframe deployments in the release.

Version 5.0’s Web services features include the Axis 3.0 open-source SOAP parser for improving Web services requests by a factor of four to five, and support of Web Services Invocation Framework, an IBM technology that enables Web services to be deployed over networking protocols such as CORBA IIOP, MQSeries, and JMS. Web services over AOL Instant Messaging also is supported. Version 5.0 of WebSphere is priced at US$8,000 per processor.