IBM throws its hat into the hosted e-mail ring with Exchange Online competitor

IBM throws its hat into the hosted e-mail ring with Exchange Online competitor

Summary: IBM has introduced a new hosted e-mail offering, LotusLive Notes, that it is pricing at $5 per user per month -- the same price Microsoft charges for Exchange Online.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Collaboration, IBM
24

IBM has introduced a new hosted e-mail offering, LotusLive Notes, that it is pricing at $5 per user per month.

IBM is touting the newest addition to its LotusLive family as providing e-mail, calendaring and instant messaging. Other pieces of the LotusLive family of hosted services also provide Web conferencing, social networking and collaboration. The integrated suite of services goes for $10 per user per month.

Microsoft last year cut its hosted services pricing so that Exchange Online is $5 per user per month, and its integrated Business Productivity Online Services (BPOS) bundle is $10 per user per month. Microsoft also provides a stripped-down hosted Exchange and SharePoint clients, known as Deskless Worker clients, for $2 per user per month (or $3 per user per month for a bundle of the two).

IBM announced an offering last year known as LotusLive iNotes, which the company also touted as a hosted e-mail offering. It was priced at $3 per user per month and included hosted email, calendar and contact management capabilities.

According to Wikipedia, there are several distinctions between the two. LotusLive Notes enables a customer to use their installation of Lotus Notes to access an installation of the Lotus Domino e-mail and calendar server that is hosted and managed by IBM Lotus. (It's the new name of Lotus Notes Hosted Messaging, Wikipedia says.) LotusLive iNotes is a Web-based e-mail/calendaring service that is built on the assets IBM acquired fom buying Outblaze, a Hong Kong-based application service provider (ASP), Wikipedia says.

LotusLive iNotes "really targets smaller businesses with a basic email offerings," an IBM spokesperson said. (In other words, it is more like Microsoft's Deskless Worker.) LotusLive Notes "helps businesses protect their current email investments by serving as a virtual extension of a company's on-premises Lotus Domino domains," the spokesperson added. (So LotusLive Notes sounds more like Exchange Online.)

"LotusLive Notes single point of access to e-mail, calendaring, contacts and instant messaging from the IBM cloud. New to this release is 'hybrid' capabilities for integrating with an existing Domino infrastructure, enabling company administrators to continue to manage users and groups utilizing the on-premises tools with which they are familiar," the spokesperson added.

New capabilities that are part of LotusLive Notes include e-mail retention of content of users' e-mail messages for later legal discovery; onboarding, data migration and custom mail template services (via IBM Software Services); and support for 21 additional languages.

The onboarding service and free trial options could be a draw, but the relatively small number of partners for LotusLive Notes could hamper the offering, said IDC analyst Robert Mahowald.

However, "IBM has a large base of customers with 1000+ users which are old-school Notes shops, and for which they have engineered some good selling scenarios for on-premise + LotusLive deployments. So as an IT person you get flexibility in how you want to deploy this, on-premise, and subscribe to some things- your choice. That's very much like Microsoft, and it helps them both stand out against Google - in addition to the fact that even in outsourcing scenarios, IT departments still value real-time portals on help desk tickets, usage patterns for internal charge-back, etc, which Google does not provide out of the box (though it can be added through integrators)," he said.

The day before IBM's LotusLive Notes rollout, Microsoft announced a number of new customers for its BPOS bundle, including DuPont, Spotless Group Ltd. and Sunoco Inc. Microsoft also recently touted that it had convinced one of the biggest messaging migration tool vendors, Binary Tree, to move from Google to BPOS.

It's not just a three-way horse race between IBM, Microsoft and Google in the hosted business-app space, Mahowald noted. Adobe has some of the cloud collaboration services, but lacks e-mail, he said. Cisco has yet to put thesee services into a "container" the way Microsoft and IBM have. Zoho is in there too.

One thing that has been important for Google and Microsoft, Mahowald said, "is a tie to the office productivity tools: Microsoft has Office Online, IBM has Symphony (which is free, but NOT online), Google has Apps, Zoho has Apps, Adobe has their online version, but Cisco does not."

Topics: Collaboration, IBM

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

24 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Great! Notes/Domino Superior to Exchange

    Always has always will be.

    Much different and better architecture. And doesn't require any particular OS to run - will run on Windows, AIX, Linux, OS X, AS/400, etc.
    itguy08
    • Sure it is,

      itguy08, sure it is.

      ROTFL! :)
      John Zern
    • HyperOffice is an option for small businesses

      The "email and collaboration in a container" market is continuing to get hotter. HyperOffice is one of the first players in the market since around 2005. Google Apps and BPOS have validated this market. We bring a specialization in the small business market. I dont think IBM is there just yet with LotusLive Notes. It lacks document management, sites, forums, task management etc; tools which come under the head of "collaboration".

      You may want to look at a recent study done by the SMB group on collaboration suites which compared Google Apps, BPOS, HyperOffice, Zoh, Zimbra etc - http://bit.ly/8ZEUun .
      pankajunk
    • Much different

      and a real pain in the back to work with!
      Dum0nt
  • RE: IBM throws its hat into the hosted e-mail ring with Exchange Online competitor

    I would stay far far away from Lotus Notes. Nothing but a hassle when I used it and it was very slow.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: IBM throws its hat into the hosted e-mail ring with Exchange Online competitor

      @Loverock Davidson <br><br>iNotes doesn't use the notes client as its browser based and thats the massive advantage to it
      the.nameless.drifter
  • RE: IBM throws its hat into the hosted e-mail ring with Exchange Online competitor

    Microsoft has a minimum user requirement for the 5 dollar per users
    peterfnet
    • RE: IBM throws its hat into the hosted e-mail ring with Exchange Online competitor

      @peterfnet

      5 seat minimum for hosted Exchange.
      1DaveN
  • Lotus Notes is garbage

    MSFT shouldn't worry too much here.
    MSFTWorshipper
  • Big IBM mistake to price it the same.

    Who on earth do IBM think they are? They may well have more technical expertise than MS, but against the monopoly leader you'd have to offer something MARKEDLY better for about two-fifths of the price, to even stand the faintest chance of making a dent. I would have thought the Linux-Windows comparison would have shown that.
    peter_erskine@...
    • RE: IBM throws its hat into the hosted e-mail ring with Exchange Online competitor

      @peter_erskine@...

      Linux does not have to make a dent in anything.

      Its called a choice, I have a choice as do you.

      Hooay!
      daikon
  • RE: IBM throws its hat into the hosted e-mail ring with Exchange Online competitor

    Anybody who buys a Notes product should be fired by their company immediately.
    txscott
  • Lotus is for Losers

    With all the ado and it's behind Exchange. Why is that? Now it keeps attacking MS when I bet Google is eating its lunch
    nomorebs
  • Notes sucks

    After using Lotus at my last company, I hope to never endure that again - possibly the most unusable pile of junk software I've ever had the misfortune of enduring. Office & Exchange are largely intuitive and a far superior user experience.
    marcuswhit
    • RE: IBM throws its hat into the hosted e-mail ring with Exchange Online competitor

      @marcuswhit

      Only in your world.

      Hooay!
      daikon
    • RE: IBM throws its hat into the hosted e-mail ring with Exchange Online competitor

      @marcuswhit
      Hardly. How is Outlook "Intuitive"? It's always been bloated and Piggy just like Notes.

      The only thing IBM needs is to get the Notes UI right and they are getting there with 8.x.

      Trust me, Notes is far superior to Exchange. I could list the ways....
      itguy08
      • RE: IBM throws its hat into the hosted e-mail ring with Exchange Online competitor

        @itguy08 "Trust me, Notes is far superior to Exchange. I could list the ways...."
        Please do. I've used both, I'm using both now. I have no idea how you could call Notes superior.
        ibmer
      • RE: IBM throws its hat into the hosted e-mail ring with Exchange Online competitor

        @itguy08

        Please do, then -- because I've never seen any VALID comparison between Exchange and Notes that sides with Notes, unless you're an IBM'er and have to tow the company line (more like tow the company anchor, in Notes' case).

        I'll give you that Outlook is too aggressive on memory consumption. But it's a far more logical and useful interface and works flawlessly for the vast majority of its users. Notes can't say either of those things. Calendaring in Notes? Sucks. Integrating with anyone else's calendar? Realllly sucks. Same goes for Novell's crap-tastic GroupWise e-mail also. Anyone still on these two "legacy" products needs to get a clue. I'd rather have a simple SMTP/POP3 only on Linux than either of those two steaming piles.
        joefox97
      • "I could list the ways..."

        @itguy08

        And yet, you didn't.
        SonofaSailor
  • Notes & Exchange both suck!!

    Gimme a FreeBSD server setup running Exim or qmail with an open source web interface AND also allowing my users to access their mails via IMAP/POP3. Notes & Exchange are sooo bloated and EXPENSIVE. Ugh!

    FreeBSD - "the power to serve"
    http://FreeBSD.org
    maxtheitpro