US Report: Lotus attacks Microsoft in mail market

The battle between Microsoft and Lotus for corporate messaging seats is escalating into a price war.
Written by Mel Duvall, Contributor

In what company officials are terming as their "most aggressive move to date," Lotus unveiled Tuesday a promotion offering companies a 30 percent discount if they dump competing messaging platforms in favour of its Notes and Domino platforms.

The offer, called "Trade Up to Lotus Messaging," clearly is aimed at Microsoft's Exchange platform, but it also applies to such products as Banyan's Banyan Mail, Hewlett-Packard's HP OpenMail, Netscape's Netscape Mail and Novell's Groupwise.

The promotion is building upon a similar Lotus deal, in which it offers its cc:Mail customers an upgrade to the Notes messaging platform.

"The timing seemed right for this move," said Glenn Matsuda, director of product marketing for Notes. "When we started talking to our customers about upgrading from cc:Mail to Notes, a lot of them said they were using multiple e-mail platforms but would like to consolidate on one. We're jumping on the opportunity."

Lotus is the long-running king of the messaging hill, but it has watched Microsoft quickly erode its lead. Surveys show that, for the first time, Microsoft gained more new corporate seats in the first half of 1998 than Lotus.

Analysts expect Lotus will regain the lead once it releases its next-generation R5 Notes and Domino products, which are being designed around a Web browser-style interface. At the Lotusphere conference in Berlin this week, the company restated that the commercial version of R5 will be released before the end of the year.

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