11:18 AM

New Microsoft Offering Targets Notes Users

Application Analyzer for Notes helps users connect more easily to .Net Web-based architecture.

In a bid to grab more of the E-mail and messaging market it already dominates, Microsoft today is releasing software designed to help users of IBM's Lotus Notes and Domino products more easily connect those applications to its nascent .Net Web-based computing architecture. The software, incidentally, also "helps" users decide whether they would be better off using a Microsoft application in place of a particular Notes or Domino component by monitoring usage patterns.

The software, Microsoft Application Analyzer for Lotus Notes, uses Casahl Technology Inc.'s ecKnowledge 7.5 as a gateway to hook Notes and Domino applications into the XML-based .Net architecture. The software replaces Microsoft's Application Connector for Lotus Notes.

Analysts say the software could pose a threat to IBM to the extent that it makes it easier for companies already looking to move to a single-vendor software environment switch from Notes/Domino to Microsoft Exchange. However, Technology Business Research analyst Bob Sutherland says IBM's Notes installed base isn't likely to fall drastically anytime soon. "There are a lot of satisfied Notes users out there, even if it is becoming more of a niche product," Sutherland says.

Microsoft controls about 50% of the business E-mail market, while Notes holds 25%, according to Ferris Research. With business software sales slumping overall, it's hardly surprising that vendors are fighting for every seat license. A big part of the problem for many companies is a sullen European market. Over the weekend, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told a London newspaper that he didn't expect European sales to pick up anytime soon.

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