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Monday, April 11, 2005

IBM Losing The Edge In Messaging & Collaboration?

As the markets are getting hotterand hotter in the software space and with some acquisitions - particularly Microsoft aquiring Groove - lot more focus is now happening in the enterprise messaging and collabaration place. The competition is becoming more sharp and focussed. Here's an excerpt from a Businessweek article on IBM and Microsoft perspective. Excerpts with edits and comments added:
Bill Gates : They are IBM. So you always have to take them seriously, just like we took OfficeVision seriously and their acquisition of Lotus seriously. The only thing really left from Lotus at this point is the Notes piece. And you can look at what has happened with the share of that. They're not even defending what they've had very well at this point.
Steve Mills :One approach, people are very familiar with. It's the classic heavy, expensive Microsoft desktop environment, with the prospects of having to convert to the latest versions to maintain support. That roadmap is a fairly familiar one to business buyers, and they've been on it for years - frankly, with mixed reaction to the benefit of it. Costly. Expensive. Lots of fees paid to Microsoft. Heavy patch management. Virus control. And we're offering the alternative. The model of the other way begins with recognizing that the browser/portal-based approaches have already yielded reduced costs. And that approach can be extended and enriched and made very functional and capable for different classes of work where a pure portal-based approach really isn't appropriate for the type of work because there's more complex collaboration to be done.

I sort of agree with Barry whe he writes,IBM has done its Notes customers a real disservice by confusing the upgrade path. Is NSF strategic (clearly not)? or DB2? Now, it doesn't matter if in fact the database is entirely hidden from the user/developer, but this will not be the case apparently.
IBM is faced with a real challenge, which is to move its customers from (what it, and only it perceives to be) an older platform and on to something more "modern," namely, J2EE and DB2. Neither of these have any particular customer value. It's such a radical change that the upgrade can't help but be intrusive to their customer base.
IBM is not admitting that its Notes and collabration vision appears a little difficult to understand for customers and that they are losing ground - it has reached a point where things may slip much faster. Some pointers , a recent forbes article,IBM in denial mode over Lotus Notes- First Microsoft consumed Lotus's 1-2-3 spreadsheet business. Lotus spinmeisters insisted Microsoft wasn't really winning because Lotus 1-2-3 still had a larger installed base. Eventually that wasn't true either. Now Microsoft's Exchange has clawed its way to the top of the corporate e-mail market, displacing Notes/Domino, which once dominated e-mail and was the main reason IBM paid $3.2 billion to acquire Lotus in 1995. Exchange, first released in 1996, now outsells Notes/Domino and has a larger installed base and more momentum, many analysts say. In this age of spamming and deep rooted security concerns, IBM has to move lot more aggressively to make its mark felt - to have a staying chance to be in the messaging and collabaration market - IBM's chances shall be brightened only if it strengthens and improves their hold on messaging market and aggressively move up in the collabaration market - they should be seen as the innovators, they should be seen as people rolling out simple but powerful solutions, they should be seen as launching products with solid performance and scalability with good user interfaces - all available at competitive pricing - providing better value for money - these should gain mindshare with customers, prospects, analysts and partners..

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"