Microsoft Jan. 15 offered training vouchers to the first 500 Lotus Notes professionals who want to learn to use Microsoft's Office productivity suite, Exchange e-mail server, SharePoint collaboration software, and Office Communications Server platform. The training vouchers are worth $300 per user. Microsoft also downplayed IBM's Panasonic win, in which more than 150,000 Panasonic employees are using IBM's LotusLive hosted collaboration software. This spat comes as IBM prepares for its annual Lotusphere event, which will be weighted on the cloud.
When IBM revealed Jan. 14 that it had
Panasonic as a new customer for its LotusLive collaboration software, it
said it was partially replacing Microsoft's Exchange e-mail platform at the Japanese electronics maker.
Microsoft fought back Jan. 15, offering training vouchers
to the first 500 Lotus Notes professionals who want to learn to use Microsoft's
Office productivity suite, Exchange e-mail server, SharePoint collaboration
software, and Office Communications Server platform. Those training vouchers
are worth $300 per user.
Julia White, director on the Exchange product management
team at Microsoft, said
she believes that will be attractive to developers because "the
market momentum is going that way."
Microsoft partners Binary Tree, CASAHL Technologies and
Quest Software, which have shuttled more than 35 million Lotus Notes users to Microsoft
in the last 10 years, are helping Microsoft move Lotus Notes users to Microsoft
White also downplayed IBM's Panasonic win, in which more than
150,000 Panasonic employees are using IBM's LotusLive collaboration
software. LotusLive is hosted on IBM's cloud of servers and delivered
to workers over the
Internet. It is one of the largest cloud computing deployments on
replaces Microsoft Exchange e-mail server, as well as traditional
Lotus Notes and other tools.
But White implied that
IBM's replacement of Exchange negligible, noting that it was only for a
5 percent of Panasonic's U.S.-based employees. She added that 40
percent of Panasonic's employees used Lotus Notes, with the remainder
using a proprietary e-mail system.
"I would qualify that as [IBM's] Notes [software group] claiming a win of a Notes customer," White added.
Still, more than 18 million users are using IBM LotusLive iNotes, IBM's
Web-based e-mail, which costs $3 per user, per month.
Exchange Online Deskless Worker, which provides
provides e-mail, calendaring and contact management functionality on par with
IBM's LotusLive iNotes application. This package also includes anti-virus and
anti-spam filters, as well as Microsoft Outlook Web Access Light for access to
Users who require more may
license a standard edition of this Exchange Online product, which
includes mobile capabilities, MAPI support and a 25 gigabyte mailbox,
for $5 per user, per month.
White also touted Exchange Online as easier to
use than LotusLive iNotes because it comes from the same code base as Microsoft's
on-premise Exchange Server. LotusLive iNotes leverages
the code base of Outblaze, whose messaging assets IBM acquired and repositioned as LotusLive iNotes. Microsoft's
seamless code base between on-premise and online services makes life easier to
upgrade, service and maintain.
White also stressed that Microsoft believes the
collaboration and productivity space is moving to a software-plus-services
model, with headquarters with thousands of employees keeping with their
on-premise Exchange solutions and remote offices perhaps choosing to use online
iterations of Exchange.
Whatever the case, the sniping between IBM and Microsoft set
the stage for dramatic theater at IBM's annual Lotusphere event, which kicks
off in earnest Jan. 18. IBM is expected
to focus extensively on cloud
computing at the event.
Moving forward into 2010, IBM will have its
hands full competing with Microsoft and Google, which until the last several
months since IBM, Microsoft and Cisco introduced Web-based e-mail and
collaboration suites, found itself fending off Zoho and other SAAS startups.