Microsoft’s After The Lotus Notes Crowd

Microsoft  is trying to crash IBM’s
 Lotusphere party.

The Redmond, Wash., company today introduced more free software tools to
make it easier for customers of IBM’s Lotus collaboration software to move
to and work with Microsoft’s competing SharePoint Services 3.0 suite.

Microsoft Transporter Suite for Lotus Notes, role-based templates for
SharePoint My Sites and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 application
templates, come as IBM kicks off Lotusphere 2007 in Orlando, Fla.

The software tools are Microsoft’s latest shot across Big Blue’s bows in
what has become a spirited, protracted competition for signing up the most
corporate users to use their collaboration services, which include e-mail,
instant messaging, calendaring and Web conferencing.

Transporter Suite for Lotus Notes is a software tool that helps customers
move data from their messaging and directory services to Windows SharePoint
Services 3.0.

Templates for SharePoint My Sites help customers create customized portals
where employees can go to find the information and tools they need to do
their jobs.

Templates include roles for sales account managers, financial analysts,
staffing specialists, administrative assistants, customer services
representatives, IT engineers and marketing managers.

Microsoft has also created 40 new templates for Windows SharePoint Services
3.0 to make it easier for IT staffers create customized applications for
workgroup processes.

These templates include scenarios for sales and marketing jobs, HR and
finance processes, business and IT operations, project management,
education, health care, retail and financial organizations.

Companies can use the Microsoft Transporter Suite to migrate data from Notes
applications to these application templates.

Microsoft said in a statement that customers will be able to download these tools
and templates for free here.

For years, IBM’s Lotus-Domino portfolio has been the top collaboration suite
for triggering communications between corporate employees.

But Microsoft has been making dents in IBM’s dominance with software such as
SharePoint Services 3.0 and Office Live Communications Server, along with
aggressive Lotus-to-SharePoint migration programs.

This time last year, Microsoft preempted Lotusphere 2006 with a suite of free tools to help businesses move data
from Lotus Notes and Domino systems to the SharePoint platform.

IBM fought back last March, offering
partners up to $20,000 to help customers move from Exchange to Linux-based
versions of Lotus Notes and Domino.

The Lotus-Domino portfolio is still going strong: Revenue from Lotus-Domino
products rose by 30 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006, according to Big
Blue’s earnings report from last week. The Lotus-versus-SharePoint competition has revolved around e-mail, instant messaging and Web conferencing technologies.

But IBM’s Lotus unit and Microsoft’s SharePoint group have extended their
collaboration brawl to a new battleground that includes wikis, RSS feeds,
blogs, social-networking tools, unified messaging and VoIP software.

To that end, social-networking software is coming into play at IBM
Lotusphere 2007.

IBM is letting customers attend
the conference virtually on Second Life, a 3-D virtual-reality world.

The company also unveiled today its IBM Lotus Connections social software
platform; IBM Lotus Quickr, a new Web 2.0 collaborative content platform;
and IBM Lotus Sametime 7.5.1, which boasts increased interoperability with
Microsoft software.

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