US Report: Microsoft grabs Mesa steps up challenge to Notes

Microsoft announced this week that it has acquired US startup, Mesa Group whose JumpStart products help users migrate from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange.

The acquisition, which coincided with migration announcements by Lotus and Novell at the Electronic Messaging Association Conference and Exposition in the US, signals Microsoft's clear determination to win users to its own messaging platform.

Mesa's offerings include Application Assessment and Planning, a service that helps evaluate and plan Notes database migrations to Exchange public folder environments, as well as coexistence and migration software for Notes and Exchange that includes a connection agent, a mailbox converter and an application exchange agent.

The various applications will be folded into forthcoming versions of Exchange but an interim release-either in a Service Pack or as a Web download-will be made available, said Rob Shurtleff, general manager of Exchange Partnership and Connectivity at Microsoft. "When we acquire companies, we don't buy the company just for the technology but also for the people," said Shurtleff.

Employees of privately held Mesa will relocate to Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, including Chairman and CEO Eric Schultz, who founded Mesa in 1989. "With Mesa, they're buying expertise," said Eric Arnum, editor of the Electronic Mail and Messaging Systems newsletter, New York. "It's a wonder what triggers Microsoft to say 'buy' vs. 'partner.' What do they get from buying that they wouldn't get from partnering with them?"

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.