IBM Corp sees Lotus Notes at the heart of a scalable client-server system providing a common system for users, a goal IBM says Microsoft Corp has neither the breadth nor the tools to reach. Nice thought, but IBM and Lotus Development Corp may have a more difficult time cornering the enterprise groupware market than they […]
IBM Corp sees Lotus Notes at the heart of a scalable client-server system providing a common system for users, a goal IBM says Microsoft Corp has neither the breadth nor the tools to reach. Nice thought, but IBM and Lotus Development Corp may have a more difficult time cornering the enterprise groupware market than they expect. IBM last week said it would trash its existing groupware line and enable Lotus to snatch parts of IBM technology to lead a joint groupware strategy (CI No 2,711). IBM senior vice-president John Thompson said we want to shift the playing field from operating systems to networks, claiming that its enterprise background and the Lotus groupware would give it an edge over Microsoft and others. The two plan to marry Lotus’s front end with IBM’s back end, making Notes scalable enough to run even under systems like OS/400. It will enable middleware like DB2 and MQ. Lotus has more than 9,000 business partners at last count – and a product superior in analysts’ eyes to Microsoft’s Exchange, which they say is not a true Notes competitor because it has no client replication and no canned applications. IBM’s groupware offerings will fall under the Lotus brand. No IBM products will cross over to Lotus: Lotus will simply take the pieces of technology that it needs and discard the rest. IBM’s workgroup middleware will stay under the IBM name. IBM will offer Notes as its workgroup software. It said SmartSuite will be its desktop offering, and in contrast to what we heard last week, IBM will not back the StarOffice suite it has licensed from Germany’s Star Division GmbH, although StarOffice is seen as a better product.
Time & Place
IBM said that it will only be selling it in Germany, and then not as an IBM product. Lotus will add team computing functions to SmartSuite. Lotus’s cc:Mail will replace IBM’s UltiMail and will give direct support for mail providers like the Internet. And Notes will become the server for cc:Mail and messaging by itself will go away. Lotus Approach will be the desktop database. Approach, which is more like a data query product, will link the desktop software and the DB2 database with Lotus PowerKey technology. IBM’s desktop database, under development as UltraLite, will be discontinued. Lotus Notes Document Imaging will become IBM’s image client and will be augmented by IBM’s ImagePlus line. The Lotus Organiser interface will be integrated with IBM back-end products to enable scheduling. IBM will halt development of its Time & Place product. Both will work through their normal sales channels, with IBM offering sales incentives and customer events to sell Notes. IBM will lead with OS/2 development but enable Lotus to do whatever it thought the market demanded.