This morning, we channel announced LotusLive Notes, with service availability on August 24.  We also announced Notes/Domino 8.5.2, with eGA on August 24.  Like I have been saying, it's a busy August.

LotusLive Notes has been gliding down a very smooth track towards taking the mantle of best SaaS messaging and collaboration offering.  We announced the new multi-tenant Domino solution in January, went to beta in April, deployed a key customer in limited availability in June, and are now activating the service in August.  Like most SaaS offerings, we plan updates on a regular basis, with some additional features already queued up for a couple of months out.

Today's announcement marks the clear establishment of LotusLive as the leader in cloud collaboration.  LotusLive Notes, enterprise-class mail, calendar, tasks, and instant messaging, lists at US$5/user/month, including a license for the Lotus Notes 8.5.2 client.  While it matches the competition on key checkboxes like 25 GB mailbox quotas, rich messaging features, and ease of access, we beat up on Microsoft Exchange Online by running the latest version of our server software, including the Lotus Notes client in the base price, and including instant messaging in the base price.  The Domino team has done an incredible engineering job to establish a true mutli-tenant Domino architecture, running in clustered pairs in multiple IBM data centers and integrated with the rest of LotusLive.  We're bringing all our experience with 20 years in the messaging market and 50 years of data center operations.  LotusLive Notes is a winner.

Image:LotusLive Notes: Open for business!

Add LotusLive Engage to LotusLive Notes, and the result is the SaaS front-runner.  For a list price of US$10/user/month, users get all of the LotusLive Notes capabilities, plus all of the capabilities of LotusLive Engage.  This includes our unique and easy approach to file sharing, online emeetings, profiles, activities, forms, and charts.  LotusLive Notes and LotusLive Engage are seamlessly integrated, providing a single "dashboard" view with one-click access to all cloud services.  If you use LotusLive Notes web (the DWA or Lotus iNotes experience), that just appears as another web service.  If you use the Notes client, you're seamlessly authenticated to all the other LotusLive web services, and will have the ability to use plug-ins to connect to LotusLive Meetings and LotusLive Connections.

Image:LotusLive Notes: Open for business!

If you are an existing Lotus Notes/Domino customer, IBM is committing to offering you the best cloud solution at a price that recognizes your investment in Notes/Domino today.  We've also done the hard work to support hybrid deployments of cloud- and premises-based Domino environments, connected together, both from a technology and also from a licensing perspective.  If you are running a competitor's messaging and collaboration product, now is the time to check out IBM.  During beta, we did literally hundreds of preview proposals of LotusLive Notes + Engage for Microsoft Exchange customers, and beta was also successful at diverting attention in some organizations who were needlessly flirting with Google.

We have been hard at work on this offering for a long time.  In the SaaS world, we don't get to announce, ship, and then breathe.  We've already defined the next update to LotusLive Notes, which should come in October, and then more after that.  In addition to my excitement at going public today, I want to extend my congratulations and thanks to everyone in the organization who did the real work.  My own team -- Chris Baker, Jan Kenney, Collin Murray, Scott Souder and many others along the way -- have lost sleep and been the creative force to get this project done. Russ Holden, chief architect for Domino, has not only lead this project, but touched every aspect of it along the way.  I have been humbled by Russ's ability to sweat the details -- actually, to invent the details, sweat them out, and solve them all at once.  I will save the rest of the list for my internal kudos, but all of the rest have worked equally hard to get to today.

Cloud/SaaS collaboration is clearly a game that we need to not just play, but play to win.  With today's announcements, I'm confident we are ready to take on and beat the competition.  If you haven't checked out LotusLive yet, you owe it to yourself to do so.  We'll be adding the LotusLive Notes trial to the site just a few weeks after service availability; you can try out all the other services today.  Meanwhile, Notes/Domino 8.5.2 is coming simultaneously, with great improvements for premises-based deployments as well.  I'll be blogging about those in the coming days.

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