Been an interesting week for competition in the messaging and collaboration market.  A few items worth looking at.

On the Google front -- you know, I'm glad that they and their partners are getting a little more aggressive in going after the Notes space, because all that does is bring out the realities and weaknesses of the Google GAPE solution.  Blog posts from Marie Scott (read the comments too) and a new blog by Charles Reid examine the significant gaps in the GAPE story, and a clever-but-dated view of the Notes world from Google partner Cloud Sherpas prompted some definitive smack-down in comments (apparently causing the sherpas to retreat) and other observations around the blogosphere (and some quick wit, too). All this on the heels of press last week that a compromised Google account gave up the goods on Twitter's business plan.

Meanwhile, my friends at Microsoft have offered a missive this morning on the supposed-millions who have switched to Exchange and SharePoint from Notes.  It's well-written and logical, too bad for all the lies and half-truths.  So let's take a look:

more than 4.7 million people began the switch to Exchange and SharePoint from Notes
Actually, during the earnings call and at WPC last week, Microsoft said these users "had switched".  I'm inclined, from what I know of how Microsoft measures a "Notes compete" "switcher", that "began" is the right verb here (began may mean nothing more than a verbal indication).  Too bad the financial analysts who listened to the earnings concall were subjected to the spin version.
A Ferris Research survey of 917 companies found that Notes systems can cost twice as much as Exchange 2007. But, most businesses have their eyes on the longer term productivity gains that Exchange and SharePoint deliver.
Ferris's "survey" from January 2008 was an opt-in of their newsletter subscribers (not at all random), with no validation as to whether those participating accurately represented their organization or the market as a whole.  The survey also counted every entity as a single "share", thus wildly mis-representing actual market share.  No statistician would support that survey as valid.  Further, it didn't survey ANYTHING about total cost of ownership, only acquisition costs -- and again, so few Notes customers are on Ferris's mailing list that the sample size is too small to be conclusive.   Either way, I find it fascinating that Microsoft believes that it is unmeasurable "longer term productivity gains" that are the motivation for switching...sounds promising, but the best news is that by the time someone realizes those productivity gains were a house of cards, the migration will be too far gone to remember the promises.
On the other hand, Notes customers wanting a cloud-based solution have limited options.  IBM's "Goldilocks approach" (companies cannot be too small or too big to move to the cloud as the IBM service starts at 1,000 users and stops at 10,000) and the added costs of cobbling together solutions based on different platform choices (Domino, WebSphere, DB2) give customers few choices.
I must have missed where LotusLive Notes has anything to do with WebSphere or DB2.  Also we certainly offer custom options for customers outside the 1K to 10K range that is published in Passport Advantage -- IBM has been hosting and deploying Notes/Domino environments for customers in private cloud environments for over a decade.  LotusLive Notes, especially its upcoming V2 version, will take advantage of the best SaaS characteristics to even further drive down the costs for a cloud-based messaging solution.  Microsoft might also want to check on some of the customers referenced in the blog -- I think one is bankrupt and another is still mostly running Notes messaging.
With Notes, the skills are dwindling and expensive.  With SharePoint, they are booming and in-demand.  Just take a look at the trend from, and you can see where companies are investing for the future.
I love when Microsoft distorts job postings on one US website as a way to indicate a "trend".  First of all, at WPC, Microsoft admitted that millions of seats of SharePoint are shelfware -- it is no surprise that demand for SharePoint skills in job posts are on the rise, because companies were sold a bunch of shelfware and are trying desperately to find enough SharePoint people to do something with their sunk investment!  Further, the US numbers (used in the MS blog entry) tell one story, in other countries it is another:
Lotus Notes SharePoint
Indeed Deutschland (Germany) 881 610
Indeed Canada 505 398
Indeed Italia (Italy) 122 109

That's if you even think these are the best search strings...I am not sure they are indicative of much of anything other than search engine creativity.  However, there is one aspect of the job trends that I wish I knew what to do about.  I think that with all the TCO improvements in Domino 7 and Domino 8.x, most organizations need fewer Domino admins than in the past (and far fewer than are needed in the Exchange/SharePoint world).  This becomes somehow an indicator of whether you should use the product or not.  Maybe we should call ourselves Maytag?

I hadn't really planned on a competitive discussion on the blog today, but this Microsoft blog entry pretty much asks for my response.  Now I will go back to reviewing plans for upcoming Lotus activities, analyst presentations, and reference efforts.  More about that in my next blog entry.

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