IBM Puts Google Apps in Its Crosshairs with Lotus Cloud E-Mail
In a blatant attack on Google's cloud computing-based messaging and collaboration applications, IBM next week will begin selling a Web-based version of its popular Lotus Notes software for $3 per user per month. The IBM-hosted LotusLive iNotes will cost users $36 per year. Google Apps costs $50 per user pear year, but offers several applications LotusLive iNotes does not, including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and wiki apps.IBM Oct. 5 will begin selling a Web-based version of its popular Lotus Notes software for $3 per user per month, a move that puts Google directly in Big Blue's crosshairs. An IBM spokesperson confirmed the release to the general public of LotusLive iNotes, which will include e-mail, calendaring and contact management applications. IBM will host these programs on its own servers and provision them to customers via the Internet, or the cloud.
Designed for small to large businesses, these applications will work with existing on-premises e-mail applications, including Lotus Notes and Microsoft's Office Outlook. Users will be able to access LotusLive iNotes from PCs or mobile computing devices.
"LotusLive iNotes is equally well-suited for small and medium-sized businesses, many of whom have discovered the convenience and savings of free or low-cost Web-based e-mail services but have grown weary of service outages, distracting advertisements, or security and privacy concerns that can impact employee productivity and confidence."The outage issue is bound to be a sore spot for Google, which suffered service outages to Gmail and its Contacts in September. However, more than 1.75 million businesses have signed up to use Google Apps, with hundreds of thousands of them paying for the Premier Edition. Google also started marketing and advertising Google Apps this past summer after Microsoft made some noise with Office Web Apps, that software giant's version of Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps for the cloud. Despite Google's more than two-year head start with Google Apps, IBM's sterling reputation with enterprises will likely give it a wide window of opportunity in the SAAS (software as a service) collaboration market, which is a pretty open field to plow. Gartner expects 20 percent of companies will use hosted e-mail by 2012. IBM is offering a free, 30-day trial for LotusLive iNotes here in English, Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese and Spanish. LotusLive iNotes is not IBM's first foray into the SAAS market; IBM already offers IBM LotusLive Engage, a business collaboration suite, and LotusLive Connections, a SAAS version of its Connections social software suite. Read more on TechMeme here.