Notes vs. Exchange (and mechatronica)

In today's IT Blogwatch, we look at the players vying for the corporate messaging and collaboration market. Not to mention making old dot matrix printers play music...

Both Microsoft and IBM would like to reign supreme in the corporate messaging/collaboration market, valued at $2.8 billion according to this report: "Microsoft Corp. today said it plans to offer a variety of analytical and data-transfer tools aimed at luring customers of IBM's rival Lotus Notes e-mail software ... Each company wants to play a leading role in defining how Web services will work together in the future ... Microsoft has captured the momentum in the more than decade-old battle between Exchange and Lotus Notes to win the lion's share of the corporate e-mail market. But IBM is seeking to redefine the competition by investing in a new set of Web-based collaboration tools known as IBM Workplace ... Microsoft said it would offer a tool to allow potential customers to identify and organize their most-used shared software." [Let me guess -- it's almost Lotusphere time again?]

» TechNudge: "Microsoft and IBM/Lotus are at it again in the messaging -- make that collaboration -- wars. Just days before the annual Lotusphere love fest kicks off in Florida, Microsoft unveiled updated tools to ease migration from Lotus Notes/Domino ... Due later this quarter, the Application Analyzer 2006 for Lotus Domino will examine a customer's current Lotus application environment and suggest a framework for moving those applications to one or more of the Microsoft applications."

» David Ferris and Nick Shelness dissect it: "Microsoft's coexistence and migration tools for Notes/Domino have been much criticized in the past. It appears they have been substantially improved. However, the resultant [SharePoint] applications are server-based and so will not support working off-line, which has always been a key distinguishing feature of Notes ... A number of standard and many custom Notes applications employ facilities not yet available in either Exchange or WSS and this will present a significant obstacle to migration ... It's not clear that the new tools will ease the migration of such custom applications." [Nick was CTO at Lotus back in the day]

» IBM's Ed Brill scoffs: "Wow, what a surprise -- Microsoft has issued a press release today about their plans for "plucking" Lotus Notes/Domino customers ... I'd encourage any customer who is approached by Microsoft or their partners to run the application analyzer, FUD doses and all, since it appears that it's pretty realistic about how difficult (i.e. expensive) it is to migrate Lotus Notes applications ... As to the customer wins ... there are a half dozen mentioned that I've never seen as Notes customers ... Another few are still running (and managing, and paying for) Domino applications -- all they converted was their e-mail environment. Others still haven't converted a thing yet -- just have made a decision to do so. And yet others are small companies or divisions where they might have used Notes years ago, but haven't kept up ... the reality is that it's just not happening at the rate and pace that Microsoft wants to believe.  Where it is happening, it's because decisions are being made on politics and emotion. And when the cost analysis is done in the rear-view mirror, it never looks like a good bet."

» David Hunter, HunterStrat: "As had been rumored, Microsoft launched some new tools for migrating customers from IBM's Lotus Notes/Domino email and collaboration system to Microsoft's Exchange Server and Windows Sharepoint Services. Cut to the press release ... the tools aren't really adequate for migrating a complex Notes/Domino deployment, so grabbing these customers is a doubly tough grind."

» Dave Leigh takes a more in-depth view: "I'm not at all sure that Microsoft has thought this through ... As of today there's still nothing on the market that touches Lotus Notes for sheer flexibility and ease of development of collaborative applications ... The application analyzer is a good idea, really. Companies should use them, and it's not a big deal at all to slap one together in Notes ... It's the migration tool that raised my eyebrows... it's one of those things that sounds really nice on the face of it, but doesn't matter at all ... Microsoft may offer a migration tool for the templates that ship, but this says absolutely nothing about the difficulty of migrating the data ... if e-mail is all you're using Domino for, you aren't getting full value from it. It's a bit like buying a four-wheel-drive pickup truck just to get back and forth to church ... Microsoft has no comparable product ... I tried Groove, and with all due respect to Ozzie, it misses the point."

Buffer overflow:

And finally...  Musical dot matrix printers [and an animated background that made your humble blogwatcher feel ill]

Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at Also contributing to today's post: Judi Dey, our very own Antipodean.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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