Today, IBM is announcing the latest release of LotusLive, the best cloud collaboration offering available.  Today's announcement is the first press announcement of LotusLive Notes, the most-comprehensive US$5/user/month cloud messaging solution, several customer references, partner integration, and new community features and enhancements across LotusLive.  In short, this week's service update is a major step forward, and a demonstration of how powerful the cloud delivery model is at iterating and innovating.

Image:New LotusLive release today

When we first made LotusLive Notes available in August, I said that we would move quickly to add features and services.  I also said that we would do an update in October, and here it is.  New in the 2nd release of LotusLive Notes:

  • Full implementation of our hybrid architecture.  Link a new OU in your Domino domain and you are fully interoperable with your LotusLive Notes implementation.  It couldn't be simpler.
  • Lotus Notes Traveler is now available as an add-on service for LotusLive, supporting iOS, Nokia, and Windows Mobile.  Android support in LotusLive, along with RIM Blackberry support, are expected in the first quarter of 2011.
  • 22 languages are now supported for the Notes client against LotusLive Notes as well as LotusLive Notes web...and most are now supported throughout LotusLive.
  • Minimum order quantity has been reduced to 1, down from 25 at the first service release and 1000 from the Lotus Notes Hosted Messaging offering.

You can see coverage of today's announcement already in ReadWriteWeb and InfoWorld, and on a plethora of blogs.  The press release will be posted in a bit and there will certainly be more to come.

Now, what's next?  I'm at the Lotus Leadership Alliance conference this week, with some of the IBM Lotus customers and partners at an event where we discuss our plans and strategy for the next year and beyond.  The event itself is under non-disclosure, so you won't see anyone blogging about the details.  But in about 90 minutes, I have the distinct pleasure of presenting the messaging and collaboration strategy session, and I'll be talking about plans for the next release of the Notes/Domino product family.  Our roadmap, which we have been showing customers all year, goes through 2014 with specific release commitments, and beyond that for higher-level direction.  No surprise, we're building on the IBM Project "Vulcan" vision which was publicly announced at Lotusphere 2010.  The roadmap, of course, includes frequent and regular updates to LotusLive Notes as well as the on-premises software.

I think there's no surprise in the previous paragraph, so why state the obvious?  I've learned in the last week that Microsoft has trotted out a very, very tired old song in front of IBM Lotus customers that "IBM hasn't announced any future versions of Notes, so therefore it must not be investing/must be dead".  Man, haven't we seen this movie for ten+ years?  Who possibly believes them?  Apparently, someone listens, because it filters back to me, more than once.  But it seems strange that a company that can't even update their Exchange Online offering to a year-old version of the Exchange server and are instead stuck on the November, 2006 version, haven't announced a next version of Exchange or Outlook, and are struggling with adoption and reliability for both their premises and cloud offerings might want to choose another competitive vector.

Enough about them or any other competitor.  Today is another day to celebrate shipping a milestone release for the Notes/Domino product family.  In my travels the last few weeks, I am sensing that the market is reaching that point where the reasons for considering the cloud, or a hybrid deployment approach, are starting to be better-understood.  We as a vendor have to do more to help with education.  There's a ton of new materials available, including videos on the new LotusLive features.  

Gartner issued a report on LotusLive Notes last week, "IBM Gets Serious About Cloud E-Mail" by Matt Cain (G00206703).  It's not all positive, of course, but Gartner says "IBM enters the market with a significant advantage".  I'll agree, and I'm ready to capitalize on it.  We have a great story to tell about the future and a growing set of opportunities across the Notes/Domino family.  Let's talk and let's continue to be successful, together.

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