LotusLive iNotes – astonishing media coverage

In all my years of working with Lotus software (and thats nearly 18 now) I have never seen such a media reaction to a new IBM/Lotus product launch as I have surrounding LotusLive iNotes these past 72 hours!

No, I don’t think even the heyday of the Superhuman Lotus Notes/Domino R5 generated such a response – though perhaps this is helped by the addition of the blogosphere to the mainstream tech media in the last 10 years but even so it is clear that IBM’s foray into the low-cost SMB-focused cloud messaging marketplace has truly caused a stir.

I’ve seen over 80 Google alerts mentioning “LotusLive iNotes” over the weekend, and a search for “LotusLive iNotes” already generates over 74,000 hits. Astonishing…

Here are some of my favourites:

Associated Press: IBM undercuts Google with discount e-mail service
IBM believes its service, called LotusLive iNotes, can beat Google because it has a much larger sales force and relationships with corporate customers going back long before Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were even born in 1973.

“This is trouble for Google,” said Gartner Inc. analyst Matthew Cain.

Neowin.net: IBM enters the business webmail market
At first it may not seem entirely different, when comparing it to Google Apps or Yahoo. The big difference is that it’s offered by IBM, a company known for its aptitude in enterprise software. With LotusLive iNotes they want to offer “a business-class messaging solution for everyone in your organization.”

Government Technology: IBM Announces Cloud-Based E-Mail Service
“It’s understandable that much of the government sector has a high desire and focus on security and reliability, and those are the stock and trade of the IBM company,” [Sean Poulley] told Government Technology. IBM has a significant presence in the federal sector, which could mean there’s an opportunity to bring iNotes to that market segment.

ZDnet: IBM targets Google Apps for business, undercuts pricing and touts reliability
Will IBM’s move work? There’s no question that Google may be vulnerable following well-publicized Gmail outages. … It’s also interesting that IBM is targeting Google, but doesn’t mention Microsoft, which also plans a cloud version of Office. IBM may be subtly jabbing at Microsoft when it says LotusLive iNotes gives users on-premise functionality “without adding on extra features they do not require.”

Forbes.com: IBM Aims To Undercut Gmail
IBM’s brand may not stand up to Google’s in terms of inspiring excitement. But when it comes to the reliability and security of a service like e-mail, Big Blue is hoping to sell the good kind of boring.

ITProPortal: IBM To Compete With Microsoft & Google Apps With LotusLive iNotes
Analysts believe that aggressive pricing from IBM is primarily directed to gain a market amongst small and medium businesses, some of whom may have concerns with outages that have recently plagued the Gmail platform.  Many may be looking to explore a more reliable and secure solution which additional collaborative features or at least a credible alternative from a blue-chip technology company.

TechFlash (a Microsoft blog): IBM to battle it out with Google and Microsoft in the cloud
The rhetoric between Microsoft and IBM actually is getting kind of interesting, with Steve Ballmer offering a somewhat critical take his high-tech rival. “IBM is the company that is notable for going the other direction,” Ballmer told The New York Times. “IBM’s footprint is more narrow today than it was when I started.” Well, it looks like IBM may be looking to expand that footprint a bit by taking a bite out of Microsoft Outlook and Google’s Gmail.

ECommerce Times: IBM Sets Up Shop in the Business-Apps Bargain Basement
“Software-as-a-Service-based email is very hot right now, given the economic times,” Gartner Research Director Bob Anderson told the E-Commerce Times. “Companies of all sizes and scales are evaluating what the opportunity is in moving to a Web-based email system.” iNotes could prove to be a harbinger of the next wave of SaaS deployment, said Anderson. The first wave was prompted by deployments of more-complex applications, such as CRM. That could be a market maker for IBM, he continued. “Email in the cloud is a great way to set the hook for a new generation of companies by providing them with immediate value and, at the same time, creating peripheral demand for solutions to other challenges and problems that IBM can address from the cloud as well.”

Whatever the commercial success of LotusLive iNotes (and I have no doubt it will be a success), it has clearly helped IBM/Lotus to be seen to have moved into a new marketplace (low cost small business Service provision) and a new phase of head-on competition with Microsoft and Google – that cannot be a bad thing to have achieved…

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!