Lotus Brags of Microsoft Partners Flocking to Foundations Appliance
June 15, 2009 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The difference between the X64 version of the Smart Cube appliance server being peddled by IBM‘s System and Technology Group and the Lotus Foundations appliance being sold by the Software Group is a subtle one. Unless you are talking about channels. Then, at least for now, there is a big difference.
Last week, IBM said that in the first five months of 2009 more than 1,000 partners who had been peddling various Microsoft applications for small and medium businesses have inked deals with Big Blue to distribute the Lotus Foundations appliances.
The Lotus Foundations appliances came out last November and they are a sealed box that runs a cut-down version of Novell‘s SUSE Linux and IBM’s Domino groupware, as well as print, file, and Web servers and a virtual private network, a firewall, and a MySQL database; the Web-based Lotus Symphony office suite is also tossed in. Basically, it has everything you need to be a small business. Think of it as the netbook of servers and you have the right idea.
IBM did not say how many of the Lotus Foundations boxes it has sold to date, or how many customers have acquired them. When they get sold, does Software Group get the revenue stream? What’s up with that?
It would be nice to see the Smart Cube servers, both the i and Linux variants, get as much support in the market. And in fact, it would have been even nicer to see a single family of Smart Cube appliances and one Smart Market for selling appliances and not confusing people with a Lotus branded hardware product. Just to be more confusing, if you look in the Smart Market, you’ll see that Lotus Foundations and Lotus Foundations Advanced are two of the suites for sale on the Smart Cubes. This is IBM, and this is office politics on a grand scale, so you’ll have this sort of thing. There should be one Smart Cube, one marketing budget, and one brand.
As we go to press, there are 30 solutions for the Linux-based Smart Cubes and 24 for the i-based version of the appliances. This needs to be thousands of applications for both Linux and i if IBM hopes to even come close to actually denting Microsoft’s hold on basic office computing. Something I am personally rooting for.