Microsoft Rains on IBM’s Lotusphere Parade
January 28, 2008 Alex Woodie
The war for unified communications (UC) supremacy continued to unfold last week, as IBM made the pitch at its annual Lotusphere conference that companies are better off choosing its new Linux-based Notes and Domino platform for their e-mail, messaging, voice over IP (VoIP), and collaboration needs. Not content to let Big Blue hog the spotlight, Microsoft unveiled a new release of its Transporter Suite for migrating Notes and Domino customers over to its UC software.
IBM is challenging Microsoft offerings for small and mid size businesses (SMBs) with Lotus Foundations, a new line of Linux-based server offerings designed to go head to head with the Windows Small Business Server package. Lotus Foundations is not yet available, but the fact that it is based on the Linux operating system has to be of utmost concern for Microsoft. Historically, Windows has been the most popular platform for Notes Domino deployments, which isn’t an operating system so much as an integrated application and database framework. IBM’s proprietary System i server has historically been number two, but the IT giant’s infatuation with Linux may have skewed that statistic in recent years.
IBM also announced “Bluehouse,” a new Web-based offering designed to allow partners share files, engage in chat sessions, and conduct meetings in a secure manner over the Web. In other words, it’s a SharePoint killer, but it’s delivered as a tidy little Web service. For more on the new IBM offerings, see IBM Sets Sights on Microsoft and SMB with Linux/Domino Combos in last week’s issue of The Linux Beacon.
Obviously, Microsoft couldn’t let IBM tell the world how it is going to beat the Redmond, Washington, software giant without getting in a few shots of its own. And so on Monday, just as the Lotusphere festivities were kicking off in sunny Orlando, Florida, Microsoft cast a cloud on the event by announcing a new release of the Microsoft Transporter Suite for IBM Lotus Domino, a collection of tools designed to help customers move to Microsoft’s Office, Exchange Server, and SharePoint Server from IBM Lotus Notes and Domino.
Microsoft first released the Transporter Suite last year, and has upgraded it several times to meet customer needs, according to Chris Capossela, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Business Division. “With this latest update, we beefed up the scalability of the suite to handle organizations with hundreds of thousands of users, mailboxes, and groups,” he says.
And when you take on Microsoft, as IBM is doing, you’re also taking on its large group of friends. Since the Notes Transition Partner Program was launched five months ago, more than 70 partners have joined, Capossela says. These companies include Binary Tree, which recently launched a new application analysis tool for Notes environments called CMT Inspector Express; CASAHL Technology, which develops tools for assisting in the migration between Microsoft and Lotus environments; Excipio Consulting, a provider of project management services; Quest Software, the Windows utility giant whose acquisition of Proposition Software gives it a seat at the Notes-to-SharePoint Server migration table; and Unify, which develops tools for migrating Notes environments to Microsoft and Java environments.
Microsoft also came armed with a list of organizations that have used the suite to get off Notes and Domino and get on the Microsoft UC train. The list includes Albany International, Alltech, Banque de Luxembourg, the Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, the Dubai Islamic Bank, Festo, Industrial Technology Research Institute of Taiwan, LippoBank, PT Bank Danamon Indonesia, SK C&C, the University of Kentucky, and Aachen University Clinic.