I couldn't help but laugh when I saw Microsoft's "explanation" today of IBM's recent win announcement regarding Panasonic.

Microsoft claims that only 4% of Panasonic was using Exchange Server, and claims that IBM was just keeping a Notes customer.  I was surprised the blog entry wasn't written by Kevin Turner, because that false assertion is right up there with his Notes-free countries.  

I don't want to go into too many details of a specific customer's environment (something apparently Microsoft has no qualms about), but actually a much higher percentage of their existing email users were using Exchange, and those users will be migrating to LotusLive for their email.  Additionally, a huge percentage of Panasonic's workforce was unserved or underserved, and that significant population is adopting a new email system -- either from nothing or from simple POP3 -- en masse.  They could have chosen Exchange Online or Google, but chose LotusLive instead.  Sean Poulley, VP of the LotusLive team, goes into the details as to why in this article in Forbes:

"Panasonic was looking to do a companywide deployment," said Poulley. "Panasonic, I think is a very interesting case. They are going through the global integration of their own business. They are also trying to integrate with their partners, trying to integrate their extended enterprise. When you are dealing with a product of this level of global scope you want a partner of global scope."

The open architecture of LotusLive will allow Panasonic to build on existing and future investment in IT infrastructure without bolstering the resources of its IT departments.

"LotusLive is an integral vehicle for our employees to truly function as a globally integrated enterprise," said Mitsuhiro Aoyama, vice president of corporate information systems at Panasonic. "It will allow us to work securely with our extended enterprise of Panasonic partners and customers as if they were all in the same location, bringing the promise of quicker, more efficient teamwork and commerce worldwide."
I think Microsoft is struggling to differentiate themselves in this space, and that leads to poorly-thought-out reactions such as this one.  I'm sure we'll see more of that as they try to react to all the news coming out of Lotusphere in the next several days.

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