January 17, 2006 3:00 AM PST

Microsoft aims to topple Lotus' Domino

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Aiming to woo users of Lotus Notes, Microsoft is releasing software designed to help companies switch to its own line of collaboration tools.

The collection of free software provides tools to help move data over to Microsoft's platform from IBM's Lotus software. It also includes utilities to facilitate the period when customers are running server software from both companies.

"The only mystery here is what took them so long," Gartner analyst Matt Cain said. "They've had a bunch of migration tools out there for a long time and they haven't been revised in ages."

The formal announcement of the products is set to come Tuesday, and some of the software will be available immediately. Other items will follow later.

An application analyzer, due out later this quarter, will let companies see which of their programs are actually being used, Microsoft said. A data migration tool, expected next quarter, promises to transfer data from applications that use the popular templates that ship with Lotus Notes.

Microsoft and IBM have been aggressively targeting one another in a variety of areas. Chairman Bill Gates recently characterized IBM as Microsoft's biggest rival in an interview with Reuters. CEO Steve Ballmer also painted a target on the Lotus Notes customer base at last year's partner conference, saying it was "ripe to be plucked."

On the e-mail side, Cain noted that most businesses already have e-mail server software, meaning that IBM and Microsoft are of necessity battling to swipe one another's customers.

"There's not a lot of 'green field' accounts out there," he said. "If you want to grow market share, you have to take it from a competitor."

Microsoft said it is pleased with the recent trends.

"We've seen a real uptick in interest from Notes/Domino customers," said Elisa Graceffo, a senior product manager at Microsoft. "Just in the last couple of months, we've seen hundreds of customers making that move."

Specifically, the software maker named Adaptec, BC Biomedical Laboratories, CompUSA, Endsleigh, SGS, Wolters Kluwer and Wonderware as among those companies that have switched from IBM.

'Ground zero'
Cain said that the Domino-Exchange battle is part of a broader software competition between IBM and Microsoft--a rivalry that pitches .Net against Java and WebSphere.

"This is ground zero for stack versus stack," he said.

IBM updated Notes and Domino in September, adding features aimed at making it easier to develop collaborative programs from within Domino, and making performance improvements.

Right now, Microsoft is testing a new version of Exchange, although Exchange 12 may not ship until next year.

Cain noted that Microsoft is not offering software to help businesses deal with the custom applications that many of them have created using Lotus.

"What's still missing is a tool or service that can migrate the Domino application logic," Cain said. "Domino still is an awesome rapid application development tool. There frankly is nothing (like it) on the market."

Graceffo acknowledged that the data migration tool does not address the full range of applications that Domino users have created. She pitched it as an opportunity for Lotus customers to rethink the business processes that they have built around these custom programs.

Cain suggested Microsoft might come out with some sort of development tool built on Windows Sharepoint Services that would help in migrating those Lotus-based applications.

Graceffo said the new tools are only a part of Microsoft's strategy for winning over Notes/Domino customers, but declined to say whether any specific logic migration tools are forthcoming.

IDC analyst Mark Levitt said Microsoft's move is most likely to appeal to companies already planning on a switch.

"By investing in new and improved migration tools, Microsoft is first and foremost supporting those firms already committed to migrating," Levitt said in an e-mail interview. "Microsoft is also looking to attract the attention of firms who are sitting on the fence due to a concern that the migration itself will cause too much disruption to IT and business user mailboxes and applications."


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Organizations with Domino that haven't bothered to develop any of their own collaborative applications would benefit by switching... to a nice POP3 mail server.

Organizations that have developed collaborative applications will quickly rediscover why they never bothered with Exchange. This reminds me of GE. They wanted to consolidate a half dozen or so e-mail systems, so they bought Exchange and everyone migrated. Two years later, they bought global licenses for Domino because they realized they needed effective collaborative components.

Domino is to workgroup collaboration what Excel is to paper spreadsheets. And Exchange? Imagine hand-coding your spreadsheets using ASP. Net&
Posted by Jack K1 (410 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You are correct
Notes and Exchange are quite difference products. But many people just think of them as email and calendaring.

If Microsoft really pushes they can probably make big gains with companies that don't need "a highly secure, mail-enabled, multi-platform, open, client/server, distributed database management system."

Those that do, like the CIA, are likely to stick to Notes.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.dominopower.com/issuesprint/issue200006/notes.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.dominopower.com/issuesprint/issue200006/notes.html</a>
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Link Flag
You dont know what you are talking about...
Your comments indicate that you have little knowledge of the subject. POP3 is not an enterprise solution.

POP-based and IMAP-based solutions are best suited for home and personal use where requirements for data recoverability and security are not high.

POP was designed to support offline mail processing. With POP, e-mail messages are removed from the server and put on the local POP client. This places the data management and security responsibility in the hands of the user.

And Applications in Notes / Domino! Imagine coding them in Domino and then porting them to Websphere if you want ongoing support...No dont imagine - you will have to...

Above all it is soooo appropriate the thing is called Lotus 'Domino' - Its always falling over. They still have massive stability problems on Windows 2003 that IBM seem unable to fix.
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Link Flag
Maybe this will help IBM
I'm hoping that Microsoft drawing attention to Notes will bring in some customers who could really make use of this tool. It's been many years since I've had a chance to play in Notes, but I've yet to see anything as flexible.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Exchange has countless advantages
I cant see that anyone in their right mind on a greenfield site would use Notes. Exchange has countless advantages.

I can install Exchange and with less than 5 minutes configuration after the installation being finished from the CD I can be receiving my emails via push traffic to my Outlook inbox on my mobile phone with no other software required. Just try doing that on Notes!
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Link Flag
Notes is truely an awful platform
Organisations with Notes / Domino want to look at the many integration and collaboration advantages of Exchange as soon as possible. Notes / Domino is a truely awful, clunky product, everything about it sucks, and IBM cant even get the latest version stable on Windows 2003. As a classic example of its poor design you have to create, manage and send a physical 'ID' file to be stored locally for everyone who has an account! You cant even put it on the network - they 'dont support' that! The login doesnt integrate with Active Directory either. And its Webmail? Wow what an awful awful attempt at a webmail solution.

Exchange on the other hand has the best email client in existence, Outlook, and the best Webmail client too - Outlook Web Access. It also has unmatched integration and collaboration into Office, Project Server, Sharepoint Portal, Visual Studio, Fax, Voice Mail, Instant Messaging, Video Conferencing, etc, etc, and complete integration into the best RAD environment there is - Visual Studio .Net 2005. Dont fancy coding in Java? (although you can) How about Visual C++? Or Visual C# then? How about Visual Basic? etc. etc. Or all of them togther?

Domino / Notes is to Email what morse code is to communications. Clunky, painful to use and it works, but you wouldnt want to use it out of choice... Where as Exchange is just the best thing in existence right now for email and office groupware and integration.
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Have you even used or developed in Notes?
Who cares if Domino isn't stable on Windows 2003 (and I personally haven't found that to be the case) when you can easily run it a number of other OS platforms. Does Exchange run on Unix? on Linux? On AS400?

Regarding the use of physical ID, this is one of Notes strengths and is key the security of the Notes client -- and the main reason that the Notes client hasn't been susceptible to the multitude of problems experienced by Outlook users. And BTW, the id can be stored on a network drive, or even carried on removable media for users who switch from PC to PC. Users who prefer a slick UI may choose Outlook, but users who wish to be secure choose Notes.

Having used both Outlook's and Notes's web mail, I'd have to say neither is a sufficient substitution for their real counterparts, but at least Notes webmail can fully function in a browser other than Internet Explorer.

Regarding development, you can use all those mentioned languages and IDE's to develop Notes applications as well - you are not limited to Domino Designer.

I wonder if you even under the stand the basic fundamentals of Domino security and development, or are you simply a Micrsoft fan boy.
Posted by zizzybaloobah (218 comments )
Link Flag
It is amazing how opinions differ
I have worked with both Domino and Exchange for 10 years now. I know which is the better product, and want to set some facts straight regarding this post. Usually I wouldn't bother considering the name used to post.
1. I have NO stability isues with Domino on 2003 server, or on Linux, or on 14 other platforms that the product runs on.
2. You do not need to store the id file localy. Domino has been supporting roaming profiles for over 3 years. Look it up!
3. iNotes(Domino Web Access) -v- OWA. iNotes has more functionality, is richer and supports more browsers. It also offers encryption natively (using x509 or Domino RSA keys)
4. Integration - Are you serious? Yea, Exchange integrates with MS products, and little else. Domino supports integration with many open standards and many third party tools, including fax/sms/blackberry and is more secure. As for RAD - lets pick a worflow application, a simple one... see which platform gets it developed quickest. Or how about developing for Domino using Java/formulae/script or integrating with COM/VB .net etc - all can be done.
Notes as a mail client is not the best. But it is far more then that. Outlook as a mail client is not the best either - but it does little else.
Also, I have reviewed the MS migration Analyser already that was released today. Details here
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.pmooney.net/blogsphe.nsf/d6plinks/PMOY-6L2TN4#comments" target="_newWindow">http://www.pmooney.net/blogsphe.nsf/d6plinks/PMOY-6L2TN4#comments</a>
Posted by Mooneyp (4 comments )
Link Flag
Mixed on Lotus Notes
I have tried to be a huge cheerleader for IBM products.. but they
make it very difficult. Where I would joingyou in IBM bashing is
the following :
- They rotate their sales reps more freq. than I change
underwear. The new reps no less about the product that a 1 year
admin, and everything is like pulling teeth.
_ They change product names and licensing very frequently as
well. This leads to confusion and frustration for end users.
_ They should have taken a note from the MSFT playbook and
integrated the entire Smart Suite into the Notes product back at
R5. This was a hughe mistake. They should look at building a
new "Smart Suite" on the Eclipse platform for the new version of
Notes (R8)
- The client is heavy, but it loads more documents faster than
Outlook. But is has better multi-platform support than MSFT
- IBM has ignored the "co-exisit" market place. With the amount
of virus traffic and other stuff, I don't want all my eggs in a MSFT
_ IBMers are not at all open to criticisim. I have tried, they have
blur blinders on.

* You have to create, manage and send a physical 'ID' file to be
stored locally for everyone who has an account!
- I think this is a good feature. If you have administered a Notes
server, you would know that you can also store the credentials in
the names.nsf which means this will not be necessary.
* You cant even put it on the network - they 'dont support' that
This is not true. I have an ID share on the network.
* The login doesnt integrate with Active Directory either.
Hmm, don't let the monopoly of MSFT fool ya. There are AD sync
services and Windows 2000 Sync services. This is wrong
*And its Webmail? Wow what an awful awful attempt at a
webmail solution.
- Ok, I agree with this. They should use AJAX in the new version.
And they should hire a business partner to work on interface.
Posted by npole (3 comments )
Link Flag
you forgot to add your smiley :)
I support a large organisation that uses both Notes and exchange. There must be a 1000 calls relating to exchange errors for every Notes call I get.
Posted by MKenzie (23 comments )
Link Flag
Migration Tool Results
With excitement I clicked to the announcement and through to download the tools. Instead of telling you what happened, I thought I'd show you. So here's the story in pictures. Remember, this is the final released version of the tools being run at a live production site of a major blue-chip corporation. I am a Lotus customer, not a supplier.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.jaffacake.net/dx/notes-ms-migrations-tools-my-story" target="_newWindow">http://www.jaffacake.net/dx/notes-ms-migrations-tools-my-story</a>
Posted by ro53ben (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wrong Client
Try running it with a supported client version installed...
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Link Flag
Who Cares About.....
... someone saying; "Exchange on the other hand has the best email client in existence, Outlook, and the best Webmail client too - Outlook Web Access. It also has unmatched integration and collaboration into Office, Project Server, Sharepoint Portal, Visual Studio, Fax, Voice Mail, Instant Messaging, Video Conferencing, etc, etc"; when there are a battery of other Collaborative Applications from IBM such as IBM® Workplace, and WebSphere:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www-142.ibm.com/software/sw-lotus/products/product4.nsf/wdocs/appdevhomepage" target="_newWindow">http://www-142.ibm.com/software/sw-lotus/products/product4.nsf/wdocs/appdevhomepage</a>

that will soon come with the integration of the O_P_E_N -- D_O_C_U_M_E_N_T -- F_O_R_M_A_T -- S_T_A_N_D_A_R_D_S (OPEN OFFICE) that Microsoft does not now support. Why do you think everyone else on planet T_H_R_E_E would want to follow you on your journey around the dark side of the "REDMOND" MOON. WHY DON'T YOU J_U_S_T -- G_E_T -- W_A_R_P_E_D if you do you might come to reality! ;-) Come in B_O_C_A -- R_O_T_O_N... We are hearing S_Y_M_P_H_O_N_I_E_S (DOMINOES)
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Which hardly anyone uses....
"battery of other Collaborative Applications from IBM such as IBM® Workplace, and WebSphere"

Which hardly anyone uses in comparison to MS Office for instance.

Who cares about 'Open Document' support. That's just some crap beign pushed by a few government departments trying to reduce their Microsoft license fees. If Microsoft dont support it then its irrelevant, unless it suddenly makes 10% market share (rather unlikely).
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Link Flag
I didn't know that Lotus was still around.
Where do they hide????????
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Guess Which Groupware Product The Editor's Choice....
... a_w_a_r_d went to; read the article for yourselves here:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.networkcomputing.com/showitem.jhtml?docid=1506f3" target="_newWindow">http://www.networkcomputing.com/showitem.jhtml?docid=1506f3</a>

Now we all know why "they" want to be the COME BACK KIDS!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
2 years ago though...
I note this review was 2 years ago and it says:

"Microsoft finished close on IBM's heels. Exchange is capable of building a top-notch collaborative environment"

Perhaps they would have a different winner with Exchange 2003 SP2...
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Link Flag
IBM bought them and succesfully managed to bury the 123 Spreadsheet which was market leader when they purchased it. They are doing an exceptionally good job of following on with killing Notes off...
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I, as a Lotus Notes developer, agree 100% with you.
Sometime I think that IBM stands for:
I Bless Microsoft (for fuc... me).
Posted by luigiza (2 comments )
Link Flag
Innovations to the extent of....
... their "l_i_m_i_t_a_t_i_o_n_s"; what has happened since Excel, and even the "one" in Open Office have all "borrowed" from Lotus 1-2-3; did they find themselves so challenged by the "C_O_N_C_A_T_E_N_A_T_I_O_N" that they have settled for the "single" mouse click. Show the "economist" and the rest of the "world" how they can convert to Economic Rate of Return (ERR) from Internal Rate of Return (IRR). I do hope you do understand the drift; and, if I were you... I would consider a quick "crash" course or guess what, your Lunch, Dinner and your "K_O_N_A" will all go to some very enterprising youngsters in China, Russia or India! ;-)
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microosft have led in innovation...
Office had led innovation in this field. No competitors have done anything more than try to copy Office. Microsoft spend $5 billion a year on R&#38;D after all.

Office 12 again shows that they are continuing to improve and develop the end user experience and functionality while other poor copies such as Open Office just try to play catchup and copy every aspect of Microsoft's solutions. imo you get what you pay for...
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Link Flag
Lotus: Some truth to the whole issue...
... that them at Lotus Corporation was running scared of the "C_A_R_B_O_N -- U_N_I_T_S" operating out of REDMOND and were only too glad that LOU GERSTNER extended the "golden" hand of friendship so that they can continue in their existence and for that reason; if none else, their survival was based on what they coined as their MOTTO the "L_O_T_U_S -- D_E_V_E_L_O_P_M_E_N_T -- C_O_N_T_I_N_U_U_M". Perhaps, the inevitable entry into the Space/Time Vertex is what is scaring the day-light out of the apparently Command Line Challenged "C_A_R_B_O_N -- U_N_I_T_S" from the REDMOND CAMPUS that still hold the opinions that we are still living in a "WINDOWS WORLD" as they dream. There is "LINUX" calling. Wake up and live!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Clones Will Always Be Clones....
... and that is why it is the considered opinion that (during the JEFF PAPOWS days at Lotus) a N_A_T_I_V_E -- P_O_R_T of the L_O_T_U_S -- S_A_M_E_T_I_M_E -- F_A_M_I_L_Y -- O_F -- P_R_O_D_U_C_T_S to OS/2 W_A_R_P would have sent a "N_O_T_E_S/S_M_A_R_T_S_U_I_T_E Real-Time Message and Hope to those users "struggling" with Windows and Office that help is soon on the way! This it is believe was a innovative misstep on the part of IBM/LOTUS. Yet, there is still time to escape the "REDMOND TIME-LOCK" if we are able to travel at W_A_R_P -- S_P_E_E_D! ;-)
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not Very Likely...
Not very likely though when Microsoft have the best operating system, the best applications and the best server infrastructure and are cheapest to run and integrate best is it?
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Link Flag
What do you think about Ray Ozzie joing Microsoft?
I'm currious to know what everyone thinks about Ray joining Microosft. Notes/Domino became one of the best collaboration platforms of all times under Ray and once he left IBM managed to really sink that ship. Now Ray is at Microsoft steering them and it makes me wonder if its time to think about Microsoft.
Posted by misterpuppydog (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What do you think about Ray Ozzie joing Microsoft?
I'm currious to know what everyone thinks about Ray joining Microosft. Notes/Domino became one of the best collaboration platforms of all times under Ray and once he left IBM managed to really sink that ship. Now Ray is at Microsoft steering them and it makes me wonder if its time to think about Microsoft.
Posted by misterpuppydog (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Great Addition
I think adding Ray along with some others and the reorganization that has taken place is pushing MS in the right direction.
Posted by Charleston Charge (362 comments )
Link Flag
What do you think about Ray Ozzie joing Moscrosof?
You asked: 'what everyone thinks about Ray joining Microosft'.

Quite simple. They, in Redmond, at last hired The Teacher in workflow.
Posted by luigiza (2 comments )
Link Flag
There iIs A Time And Place For Everything....
... and Everyone; just as Ray Ozzie is to Notes while he was at Lotus... the same should be thought of Mike Zissman as to Lotus Instant Messaging (Lotus SameTime) at IBM. How far would you expect to find the "APPLE" from the "TREE"... and in squeezing two different species of apples just what do you get regardless of whether you squeeze them near to the trees or at different factories miles apart (apple juice and not orange juice from one); in this case L_O_T_U_S -- N_O_T_E_S -- S_Q_U_A_R_E_D perhaps, that's what I think about Ray Ozzie joing Microsoft?
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Do They Think That They Can Re-Write History!
... here is where it all began; "The History of Notes and Domino - Notes and Domino began in the work of Ray Ozzie, Tim Halvorsen, and Len Kawell, first on PLATO Notes at the University of Illinois and later on DECNotes. Lotus founder Mitch Kapor saw the potential in Ozzie's collaboration project and the rest is history":

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/lotus/library/ls-NDHistory/" target="_newWindow">http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/lotus/library/ls-NDHistory/</a>
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
When did you start working for Microsoft?
I did not know Microsoft pays employees to pu browse and post marketing talk in news.com
Posted by laloooji (23 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Give it up
Just what conclusive evidence have you found to support your biased theory?
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Yes, but how well does it work?
If it's as good as the user migration tool for the NT to 2000 change then I wouldn't touch it. That was one of the worst migration tools I've ever had the displeasure of using.

Besides... who'd ever want to migrate from Domino and then have to worry about viruses and hackers using the security holes in the M$ products? ;-)
Posted by Arydus (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
... Why ARTHUR ANDERSEN LLP which conducted a LOTUS NOTES SEMINAR in NEW YORK on FEBRUARY 7, 1995 did not consider a closer COOPERATION, COLLABORATION AND COORDINATION with British Airways (yet another known Lotus Notes User)... maybe this time around they will be working closer with the "JAPANESE" and the "FRENCH" when travelers around the world would once again experience travel onboard that version of the "CONCORDE". Wouldn't it be nice to be able to just r-e-p-l-i-c-a-t-e your data half-way around the world. I just can't wait to see how quickly (at "Warp" Speed perhaps) the next C_O_N_C_O_R_D_E will get us to H_A_N_N_O_V_E_R... can you! ;-)
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Guess which O_P_E_N -- D_O_C_U_M_E_N_T -- F_O_R_M_A_T -- S_T_A_N_D_A_R_D_S supported application can get you the real thing (for your feasibility studies - "Cuyuni gold mining project: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article?id=41843990" target="_newWindow">http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article?id=41843990</a> ) this year not the next: L_O_T_U_S -- W_O_R_K_P_L_A_C_E! So, that's your DOUBLE GOLD; IBM WORKPLACE and the REAL THING, Now, what't the THIRD? The secret is in the FEASIBILITY STUDIES! Let's see what your answers are!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So, what are the projections... As it has always been in the tradition, with L_O_T_U_S -- 1_2_3: WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET. If drilling in "AURORA" (which one, the "GOLD MINE" or the "OS"! ;-) will get you GOLD... why go to XCHANGE (for Silver) when you are certain to obtain GOLD with/from H_A_N_N_O_V_E_R! ;-) ;-) ;-)
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
As an outside observer....
... who doesn't give a damn about Lotus Whatever or whether some
MS producty is better, I have just one question.....

Has Sheldon Britton's keyboard always been this screwed up?????
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What! "outside observer...
... who doesn't give a damn about Lotus Whatever"; that's very good for you Mr. Earl Benser. The Holy Bible tells us that when God was finished creating the world and he saw that it was empty he created (in addition to man whom he created in "His Own Image") all manner of things around him so that he may be happy; believe me, when the "key board" was being "fingered" by someone other than me at Sheffield U. during the late 70's I hardly knew what the heck he was doing; regrettably also, the COBOL, FORTRAN (in our diaries) and REXX (the OS/2's Scripting Language) Computer Languages meant little to me around the same time and I couldn't care a damn also. (honestly, I wish I understood their values as I do now). Let me stop at this point to ask you if I can answer a "real" question about LOTUS 1-2-3 (to each his own) for you, nicely put! However, what make you think that my computing interests and skills are limited to the K_E_Y -- B_O_A_R_D when it is widely known the the W3C is actively considering "XML VOICE STANDARDS" that also hold my interest! Did you really want an response from me; and, was this of any help to you?
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You use up a whole lot of words to say....
... yes.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
I regret that I am going to have to ask you to re-post your follow-up through the "post a comment" and not through the "string". I am unable to read your response. I do not now know the reason for this and whether it is coming from the CNET News.com's end!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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