The press and analysts have picked up on yesterday's session between IBM Lotus and Microsoft at Enterprise 2.0 yesterday...

CIO.COM: Enterprise 2.0 Faceoff: Microsoft Lags Behind IBM in Social Software

While both vendors showed their products could integrate with existing e-mail systems (especially e-mail systems that they sell, such as Notes and Exchange), IBM's Lotus Connections looked, at minimum, a year or more ahead of SharePoint in its social computing capabilities out of the box.

It was a lot prettier looking, too. ... Connections has a good-looking user interface that even Venky Veeraraghavan, program manager at SharePoint, admitted during his closing remarks are currently much better than SharePoint. Like all user interfaces, you'd have to see it for yourself to understand why, but tag clouds, widgets containing relevant bookmarks, and a detailed social graph that visualized a person's degree of separation from others in the organization stood out the most.
CMS Watch had this to say, in their "IBM-Microsoft shoot-out at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference" coverage:
IBM came off looking better for various reasons. They fielded a more focused demo team -- never to be underestimated -- but also because Connections has some slick, Ajax interfaces, and SharePoint does not. Ajax does not necessarily bring better usability, but done right, it can simplify complex interfaces.
And later today, IBM will officially announce Lotus Connections 2.0 (will update with link when it becomes available):
The newest version of IBM Lotus Connections -- successor to the fastest growing new IBM software product -- is taking a cue from public social networks.  Now people can quickly grow their professional network of contacts by adding colleagues. This business equivalent of "friending" helps people effectively manage their network and find expertise.  ...

Drawing on its experience in enterprise collaboration, IBM is expanding the tagging abilities of Lotus Connections to include people tagging. With the latest version, people can tag themselves or others based on a key topic or area of expertise.  This allows individuals to instantly identify and retrieve live intellect on any given topic and tap into the collective wisdom of a larger group or pinpoint rare, niche expertise from the general population.
For more check out Suzanne Minnasian's updates on the Lotus Connections team blog.,

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