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Microsoft Lures Notes Users

Microsoft last week unveiled new and updated tools for migrating from IBM Lotus Notes/Domino collaboration applications to Microsoft Exchange. With IBM's Lotusphere 2006 conference in Orlando, Fla., this week, the timing seems more than coincidental.

The move is a response to "the strong demand we're seeing from customers using Lotus Notes/Domino who are planning a transition" to Exchange, Kurt DelBene, corporate VP of Microsoft's Office Server Group, said in a statement.

That may be more than marketing spin. Exchange has been gaining market share at the expense of Lotus Notes/Domino for the past several years, according to the Radicati Group market-research firm. President and CEO Sara Radicati estimates that Exchange holds 29% of the business messaging market to Notes/Domino's 22%.

Notes/Domino users are getting restless, says Erica Rugullies, a Forrester Research analyst. She sees more clients inquiring about alternatives to Notes/Domino than looking to invest in IBM's system. Notes/Domino is expensive compared with Microsoft Exchange and other alternatives and is costly to manage, Radicati says. And IBM has been encouraging customers to migrate to its Workplace collaboration environment, and that has prompted some of them to consider other options, she says. "Once you start moving your customers, they start looking around," Radicati says.

Microsoft says that "hundreds of Lotus Notes/Domino customers have begun making the move to Microsoft's collaboration platform" in the past six months, including Adaptec, BC Biomedical Laboratories, CompUSA, Endsleigh, Sanborns, SGS, Wolters Kluwer, and Wonderware. IBM didn't respond to a request for comment.

The new tools include Application Analyzer 2006 for Lotus Domino, Data Migrator 2006 for Lotus Domino, and Windows SharePoint Services Application Templates. The company also offers software to migrate calendar information: Exchange Connector for Lotus Notes/Domino, Exchange Calendar Connector for Lotus Notes/ Domino, and Migration Wizard for Lotus Notes/Domino.

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