It's the holiday season, and I brought you a present a little early.

This morning, we posted the public release of IBM Notes and Domino 9.0 Social Edition beta. I've been running this build for a couple of weeks, and it's singing to me.

According to a survey of our Design Partner Program, two-thirds of the Notes/Domino Design Partners plan to deploy the new Social Edition release within three months of eGA. It may say 9, but this is anything but a "dot zero" release.

For many of you, this is the first opportunity to actually check out IBM's investment in this new beta: modernized UI, embedded experiences and OpenSocial, activity streams, improvements in mail and calendar, the "Discover" page to guide users, the Notes browser plug-in, Domino SAML support, Traveler updates for Windows Phone support, and much more. I hope you'll share some of the excitement of the participants in our IBM Notes and Domino Social Edition webcast last month: Scott Souder, Lance Spellman, Daniel Lieber, and Eric Peterson.

If you are not already registered for public beta, visit http://bit.ly/ND9BETA . To provide feedback and access additional resources, visit the beta feedback forum on ibm.com developerWorks.

There are so many great new features in this release... I would be hard-pressed to pick just one, but in the new public beta build, I love that when you finish with replying or forwarding a mail, the original closes as well. One less click. I love that calendar entry updates auto-process, without having to always click "update calendar." I love that the toolbar only shows up in edit mode, since I almost never have a reason to use it in read or view mode. Clean. Simple. More intuitive. Notes 9.0 Social Edition beta delivers.

Looking to learn more about IBM Notes and Domino 9.0 Social Edition beta? Look no further than the agenda for IBM Connect 2013; sessions will be posted on the website starting Friday. I'll see you there!

Thank you in advance for your interest and support. My team and I are excited to hear your feedback.

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