Software // Enterprise Applications
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7/12/2004
08:54 PM
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IBM Ships Its Answer To Exchange

The company says the newest member in its Express line, a messaging and scheduling version of Notes, is "our Microsoft killer."

IBM on Monday shipped the newest member in its Express line, a messaging and scheduling version of Notes that the company says is its answer to Microsoft Exchange for small and midsize businesses.

IBM Notes Domino Express provides Notes-based E-mail, group scheduling, discussion forums, and document-storage functions, said Arthur Fontaine, marketing manager for IBM Lotus, at a price competitive for small and midmarket businesses. Like the other 80-plus hardware and software products in IBM's Express line, this one is a prepackaged collection of software that promises easy installation and simplified management.

"It's our Microsoft killer," Fontaine boasted.

One of the ways IBM expects to beat up on Exchange, said Fontaine, is with Notes Domino Express' aggressive pricing. Although the standard per-license price is $98, IBM is offering it for $48 per user when trading up from competing E-mail products. And the definition of "competing" is about as broad as it gets. "Any commercial competitive E-mail product qualifies, even Linux and freeware," said Fontaine.

By comparison, Exchange's cost, said Fontaine, runs $67 per user, a price that doesn't include the server component.

Express is limited to 1,000 licenses per company; past that point, said Fontaine, it makes more sense to shift to enterprise licensing schemes.

Notes Domino Express supports a variety of access avenues and clients, including Web browsers, and POP3- and IMAP-compliant clients such as Lotus Notes (which is included) and Microsoft's Outlook, the client bundled with Office. The Domino server component can be installed on systems running most of the popular operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Solaris, and IBM's own AIX and OS/400.

Last year, IBM rolled out several other messaging products in the Express portfolio, including the entry-level, Web-based Lotus Express; Lotus Domino Collaboration Express; and Lotus Domino Utility Server Express. Notes Domino Express builds on the latter two, but doesn't include the workflow features and support for custom Notes-based applications of Collaboration or Utility Server.

"The feedback we got from customers was that they wanted to see an apple to apples comparison product from us to match against Microsoft [Exchange]," said Fontaine. "We're going out with the message for Microsoft customers to consider this, show them what they get for their money, and offer a compelling value compared to the competition."

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