Lotus ships messaging server with eye on Exchange

IBM/Lotus on Friday fired another shot at rival Microsoft Corp. by adding what it calls an “Exchange Killer” to its line of Express software for small- and medium-sized businesses.

The company’s Domino Messaging Express is the third collaboration tool in the Express line, which now includes 60 separate offerings from across the IBM Corp. portfolio such as DB2, Tivoli Storage Resource Manager, WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Commerce, WebSphere Business Connection and WebSphere Portal.

Domino Messaging Express includes e-mail, group scheduling, discussion forum and document library features.

Domino Collaboration Express, introduced last year, is identical to Messaging Express but adds calendaring and support for Domino and custom applications. Messaging Express does not support any application deployment. The third member of the Domino Express lineup is Utility Server Express, which also was introduced last year and is tuned for running Web-based applications.

Express is the name IBM has given to versions of its products that restrict the number of users to fewer than 1,000 and offer licensing price cuts of up to 40 percent. The lineup also includes hardware and services.

“We think Domino Messaging Express compares in features and price with Exchange,” said Art Fontaine, senior marketing manager for IBM/Lotus. Fontaine said that Microsoft’s troubles with introducing its Licensing 6.0 and Software Assurance program, which has alienated many users, presents an opportunity for Lotus to win converts. “There are not a lot of new customers out there, so we are stealing each other’s users.”

For its part, a Microsoft spokesperson said, “Small- and medium-sized customers value the lower total cost of ownership Exchange 2003 provides through easy deployment and improved security, reliability, management and accessibility.” The spokesperson said those features lead to “productivity gains for information workers and IT administrators.”

Microsoft recently has changed the focus of Exchange back to being a pure messaging server and left collaboration and application development to other parts of its Windows Server System infrastructure. The company last year released Exchange Server 2003, focusing on performance, security, and antispam features.

Lotus also is redesigning its Domino lineup with its Workplace platform, a collection of collaborative components that run on WebSphere and Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition (J2EE).

A recent report by the Radicati Group predicts over the next four years that Lotus will lose market share as the Workplace platform is under development. Radicati says Lotus’ market share will fall from 24 per cent to 17 per cent in 2008, while Microsoft’s will grow from 31 per cent to 33 per cent.

Domino Messaging Express supports both the Notes client and Microsoft Outlook, as well as a variety of Web browsers and standards-based POP3 and IMAP e-mail clients.

The Messaging Express software runs on Linux, Windows and OS/400. Exchange runs on Windows and uses Outlook and Internet Explorer as its client software.

Users migrating from a different platform can get Messaging Express for US$48 per user, including the server software. For new users, the price is US$98 per user.

Exchange Server 2003 has both per-user and per-CPU pricing. The Standard Edition is US$699 per CPU with a client access license of US$67 per user.

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