IBM Targets Exchange Again with New E-Mail Software
July 20, 2004 Alex Woodie
IBM launched a fresh volley at rival Microsoft last week with the introduction of new Domino-based e-mail software for OS/400 and other platforms. Domino Messaging Express is designed for organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees that can’t afford enterprise-strength collaboration software but need reliable e-mail serving, nonetheless. And with a starting price of $48 for companies that give up their old e-mail software, IBM has put the software’s crosshairs squarely on Exchange 5.5.
IBM first started targeting disgruntled Exchange users when it launched its line of Domino Express products about a year ago (see “IBM Domino Express Takes On Exchange Server 2003”). With last week’s launch of Domino Messaging Express, IBM has removed some of the more advanced workflow capabilities and has dropped the price considerably, to make it more attractive to Exchange users.
Like Windows NT 4.0 users, some Exchange 5.5 users are unhappy over Microsoft’s support policies. Support for Exchange 5.5 officially ended December 31, 2003. However, due to complaints from customers who said they weren’t given enough time to migrate from Exchange 5.5 to the newest version, Exchange 2003 (which requires Windows Server 2003, another $999), Microsoft announced a period of extended support, which includes pay-per-incident and non-security hotfix support and is slated to end December 31, 2005. To further pacify its customers, Microsoft waived the first year of extended support fees for Exchange 5.5.
But IBM is betting that some Exchange 5.5 users still aren’t happy, even with a year of free extended support. IBM intends Domino Messaging Express to be used as a replacement for e-mail server software. The offering does not include e-mail client software, because IBM is betting users already have their own–specifically, Microsoft Outlook.
The product’s pricing also points to its singular role: replacement. IBM is selling licenses for Domino Messaging Express for $48 per user to customers who trade in Exchange or other competing e-mail products, such as Novell‘s GroupWise, Hewlett-Packard‘s OpenMail, and others. That’s a pretty good discount off the $96 license fee IBM is charging customers who don’t turn off their existing e-mail software (or who are installing e-mail for the first time). To further woo the dissatisfied, IBM is also throwing one year of free maintenance into the deal.
This pricing is considerably less than what Microsoft charges for Exchange. Microsoft charges $67 per user for a client access license (CAL) to connect to Exchange Server 2003, although it must be noted that each CAL includes a copy of Outlook 2003 (the price remains the same, even if a different e-mail client is used). In addition, Microsoft charges $699 for Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition. With these figures, a 50-user implementation of Domino Messaging Express would cost $2,400; whereas a 50-user implementation with Exchange Server 2003 would cost $4,049.
However, the total cost of a Domino Messaging Express implementation goes up considerably when a customer must also purchase e-mail clients, such as Lotus Notes, which ranges from $98 to $140 per user, or Domino Web Access (formerly iNotes), which costs about $70 per user.
Domino Messaging Express is based on the full Notes Domino 6.5 platform, just like the full-sized Domino Enterprise Server, and installs on OS/400, Linux, AIX, Solaris, zOS, and Windows servers. The software provides e-mail, group scheduling, discussion forum, and document library capabilities. As mentioned before, customers are encouraged to use their existing Outlook e-mail clients with Domino Messaging Express (the software also integrates with Microsoft’s Active Directory), or any other Windows- or Web-based POP/IMAP compatible e-mail client, such as Lotus Notes or Domino Web Access. The software also includes management tools for archiving, setting policies, and enforcing mail quotes. Perhaps most important, it comes with spam filters.
This is not the first Domino-based e-mail and calendaring product in IBM’s Express lineup. Last summer’s launch included Domino Collaboration Express, which is very similar to Domino Messaging Express. The main difference between the two products is that, in addition to the e-mail and calendaring found in Messaging Express, Collaboration Express also includes some of the collaborative capabilities, such as the creation of custom workflow and document applications, that made the Notes-Domino “groupware” famous. The third Domino Express product, Domino Utility Server Express, provides unlimited access to Domino’s collaboration capability but does not provide for messaging. Pricing for Collaboration Express is $122 per person. Utility Server Express costs $2,500 per processor, with a four processor limit.