The Four Hundred's Alex Woodie picked up Network World's article and IBM's "momentum" press release last week.  His analysis is oddly unbalanced -- questioning every detail of the IBM claims, while reporting the Microsoft claims with a shrug.  To wit:

IBM isn't going to win the public relations war with claims that Microsoft is "cheating" (which shouldn't even be in the power IT businessman's lexicon; it's simply assumed you cheat).
Man, I must have missed "Cheating 201" in my business school classes.  I love healthy competition and certainly Lotus General Manager Bob Picciano is one of the most competitive people you'll ever meet, but we have this funny thing called ethics at IBM.  That's why, when we want to talk about TCO, we quote studies like Applicable's that did a full-on analysis of both products.  When we want to talk about market share, we quote reliable vendors like IDC rather than bogus surveys.  In fact this article is the first time the 2008 IDC numbers have appeared in public:
According to the latest IDC figures released this month, Microsoft still dominates this field, with 50.2 percent of the market in 2008, a 0.5 percent increase from 2007. IBM is number two, with 35.8 percent of the market, a 0.2 percent decline from 2007.
Clearly, both changes are fully within the margin of error, so IDC is essentially saying the market did not change from 2007 to 2008.  That flies directly in the face of Microsoft's rhetoric of "Notes free countries" and "taking out" seats, whereby they claim that when they convince a customer to gaze in the direction of Exchange and SharePoint, they've "taken out" Notes.  Yet despite that, The Four Hundred writes
While battling Microsoft dominance is a calling in its own right, perhaps IBM should cool its heels a bit and stick with trying to write good software. Nobody's going to out-market the Redmond machine, which has the best PR money can buy. Yes, anecdotal evidence says IBM is gaining traction with the version 8.5 release of the Notes/Domino platform, which seems to be well-received by the marketplace. If Microsoft is fudging its numbers, then IDC, Gartner, and other analyst groups should look more closely at how they tally these results.
Isn't it equally the responsibility of the press to question both sides of the equation?  

I think we can clearly demonstrate that we are writing good software.  In addition to the Applicable TCO study, Domino beat Exchange in the most recent press head-to-head review -- and that was when considering Exchange 2010!  We ship more frequently, we support more platforms, we work on forward and backward compatibility, we don't make you rip and replace your infrastructure every time there's a new version.  So if there are any complaints against IBM, they tend to be in the market-facing realm -- which is why we've done four of these "momentum" press releases, why it's important to get the IDC market share numbers out there, important to get Lotus Knows visible on a global basis.  Because in the end, it is not just about the best software winning...we've got that already.  We get into these kind of public fights to show that in fact we are winning, more every day, and that there is a better way than the Redmond tread mill.

Link: The Four Hundred: IBM Says Microsoft 'Grossly Exaggerated' Exchange Sales Data >

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