Microsoft is going head-to-head with another software giant: IBM (IBM ). Big Blue's Lotus Notes software pioneered the collaboration market and now has 118 million users. Last year, IBM began rolling out a new package of applications, called Workplace, that combines collaboration capabilities with the programs workers use to do their jobs every day. Says Steven A. Mills, IBM's executive vice-president for software: "Our game plan here is to be a major player in this next generation."
A decent overview of the market battle in the collaboration space today.  Nice to see Mills and Gates duking it out -- I think Gates seems to have missed the fundamental premise of IBM Workplace:
While customers are kicking the tires, Microsoft and IBM are kicking each other. Gates dismisses IBM as a serious competitor since so many of its desktop programs, such as the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet, are afterthoughts in today's market. "It's hard for a company that has been out of it for so long and had the various failures they've had to wake up and say, 'We care about information workers."' he says. To Mills, it is Microsoft that is stuck in the past. "Their world is the world of e-mail, not the world of collaboration," he says. Their verbal salvos don't mean much, but as long as they back their talk with innovative new products, customers such as Starkey Labs and San Francisco State will be the real winners.
Business Week still hasn't posted the Q&A interviews with Bill Gates and Steve Mills that are meant to accompany this story...I'll blog that separately when I can get the URLs.
Link: BusinessWeek: Combat Over Collaboration > (Free registration required)

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