LotusLive charges fall for existing Lotus customers

A very intriguing announcement from IBM this morning, and one that leave a lot of questions to be answered I’ll admit:

IBM LotusLive offers new service plans for enterprise deployment and IBM Lotus customers

At a glance

IBM LotusLive Engage for Enterprise Deployment 1.0 (LotusLive’s newest offering) is:

  * Based on IBM’s LotusLive Engage service
  * Offers you the ability to share files, collaborate, and conduct Web conferences with other paid LotusLive Engage subscribers inside of the enterprise for a much lower price point

  * Delivering the option of inviting guest users outside of the enterprise into the LotusLive community

IBM LotusLive services, a cloud-based portfolio of social networking and collaboration services designed for business is now offered at reduced prices for IBM Lotus software customers with active subscription and support. The following services are included in the new pricing plans:

  * IBM LotusLive Engage for Enterprise Deployment
  * IBM LotusLive Connections

  * IBM LotusLive Meetings

  * IBM LotusLive iNotes

It appears (and I say ‘appears’ because the wording in the letter is pretty obtuse), that IBM are rewarding large enterprise customers that have significant number of on-premise Lotus user licenses (naturally for Lotus Notes, but I assume also for Connections, Quickr and Sametime):

New pricing options let you add employees to your environment at significantly discounted costs. To qualify for the discounts, any employees participating in the LotusLive Engage services must have a paid subscription, and cannot participate as a guest. Additional discounts are offered for enterprises that meet the above criteria and have current Lotus software maintenance agreements in place.

In order to take advantage of the lower prices, you must have purchased the Lotus software on an authorized user model (not Processor Value Unit or server basis) and be current on the subscription and support for the same Lotus product.

Note: Websphere portal products do not qualify you for these lower priced options.

So to get the discount, any employees from your organisation that use LotusLive must have their own paid subscription – that seems fair enough.  And the licences you own must be for authorized users (such as the new Lotus Notes enterprise CALs, not Domino Utility Server and the like), though it is not clear what that means for Lotus CEO licensees or Domino Express customers.  I’m sure all the details will come out in the wash…

This paragraph is a classic though:

IBM LotusLive Engage for Enterprise Deployment 1.0, a service based on IBM’s LotusLive Engage service, offers you the ability to share files, collaborate, and conduct Web conferences with paid LotusLive Engage subscribers inside of their enterprise. Even though this service limits file sharing, Web meetings, and overall collaboration to be between paid LotusLive Engage subscribers inside of an individual’s company or enterprise, you still have the option of sharing files, surveys, and other information, and conducting Web conferences with guest users outside of the enterprise, at no additional charge.

I kinda know what they’re getting at (all enterprise users from your organisation must have full subscriptions, but you can also work with guest users that work for other organisations), but that could be clearer!

So, if you’re an existing Lotus customer that wishes to beging to collaborate with others outside of your organisation in the cloud, this could be big news. I’ll share the details as I get them.

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!