The market for integrated collaborative environment, or ICE, software, has continued its upward spiral over 1996, according to research group International Data Corp. The product category encompasses groupware software such as Lotus Development Corp’s Notes and Novell Inc’s Groupware as well as some of the more sophisticated – but older – office automation products from IBM Corp and Digital Equipment Corp. IDC estimates 38.7 million people are now using some form of ICE software after 11.9 million new seats were installed last year, 42.5% more than in 1995. Not surprisingly, the market for network-based (as opposed to host- based) ICE software showed the strongest growth with 10.5 million new users tying into Notes, Microsoft Corp Exchange or newer products such as Markham, Ontario-based Canadian company SoftArc Inc’s FirstClass. Privately held SoftArc, formed in 1989, now claims to have 20,000 user sites in 30 countries, and IDC calculates it has 2.8 million users. The growth in this sector was fueled by several factors, but most notably by the rapid adoption of intranets as an underlying, unifying infrastructure within corporations. That new technology aside, IDC points out that there were still 1.5 million new sign-ups to ICE software on host and mainframe systems during the year, a segment that is still dominated by IBM’s Office Vision and DEC’s All-in-1 office software. That 19.1% growth, though considerably slower than experienced by web-based ICE products, brought the number of host ICE seats installed to 14.4 million. While IBM’s Lotus Notes and Novell’s Groupwise dominate the network-based ICE picture with 8.2 million and 7.4 million users respectively, followed by IBM’s OfficeVision with 7.1 million users and Digital’s All-in-One with 2.9 million users, one product is very notable by its absence – Microsoft Exchange.