IBM/Lotus challenges Gmail/Google Apps with LotusLive iNotes

IBM/Lotus wants you to reconsider "Going Google". It's now offering a SaaS/cloud hosted email service, with similar functionality to Google Apps' Gmail -- but undercutting Google's price. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers wonder if it'll be more reliable than Gmail.

By Richi Jennings. October 2, 2009.


Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention Tetris as you've never seen it before...

    Michael Liedtke liked it:

IBM Corp. is trying to stymie Google Inc.'s expansion into ... business software. ... is now selling a bare-bones e-mail service to companies for $36 annually per worker, undercutting ... [the] software applications that Google sells for $50.


IBM believes its service, called LotusLive iNotes, can beat Google because it has a much larger sales force and relationships with corporate customers going back long before Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were even born. ... IBM thinks the timing for its e-mail alternative is ideal, given that Google's service suffered a highly publicized outage that locked out corporate customers for nearly two hours last month.

Om Malik compares and contrasts:

iNotes ... costs $3.75 a month and comes with 1 GB of storage space. The email can be accessed via webmail POP3, IMAP and supports IMAP IDLE for mobile devices. Google’s Gmail, by comparison, comes with about 25 GB of storage space.


IBM ... has been selling this service for the past few weeks and the web site for LotusLive, the online collaboration offering, looks open for business.

Joseph Woelfel tells us what you get for your money:

IBM's email service will sell for about 25% less than the Google service. ... The product includes email, calendar and contact management, and anti-spam and anti-virus features, but lacks certain applications of the Google service, such as word processing and a video channel.


IBM is banking on its large sales force and corporate relationships to beat Google despite its product being more lightweight.

But Anthony Ha wonders why IBM didn't seem to announce it:

The technology is apparently based on Outblaze, a Hong Kong email provider that IBM acquired earlier this year. iNotes also includes calendaring.


The service has actually been available since earlier this week, ... but IBM hasn’t made any big announcements about it, and there’s no mention of iNotes in the news section of its site. I’ve emailed IBM, but haven’t received any details yet.

Whereas IBM's Stuart McIntyre did manage to find a press release:

IBM/Lotus now has a real competitor to Google GMail and Microsoft BPOS/Exchange Online. ... LotusLive iNotes is designed to bring long-cost, high-quality email to organisations that do not need the full collaboration experience nor the effort of managing a full on-premise email solution.


LotusLive iNotes is available from today, and a 30-day trial subscription is available.

Andy Greenberg quips, "Big Blue is hoping to sell the good kind of boring":

Though Microsoft offers one version of Webmail for $2 a month, IBM says it will offer 1 gigabyte of storage, twice the amount of Webmail. ... But the service's timing may be based on more than the mere integration of IBM's Outblaze buyout: Google has spent the year trying to recoup from repeated outages of Gmail, including its own enterprise email service--the online applications have been unavailable for multi-hour windows three times so far this year.


IBM is hoping to tap into its reputation as a trusted outsourcer to show that it can do better. ... IBM's e-mail service is just a piece of the computing giant's bid to expand its online offerings as competitors move to the cloud--iNotes will become part of IBM's Blue House, a software-as-a-service package the company announced a year ago.

So what's your take?
Get involved: leave a comment.

And finally...

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

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