Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Lotusphere wrap-up 2005


By Mick Moignard and Richard Echeandia

Lotusphere has come to an end for another year, and fellow Senior Technical Editor Richard Echeandia and I have teamed up to give you complete, broad-spectrum coverage of the entire event. Read on to find out what the buzz was this year, who said what and why, and what to look for over the next year, and down the road.

There's a great deal to discuss, so we'll get started this week and continue our analysis and coverage in next week's issue. We're trying something different in this article as well. You'll see comments from both Richard and myself, each in our own sections. It makes for something like a virtual dialog, and it should be very interesting.


"And now for something completely different..."--the immortal words of John Cleese as he opened Lotusphere 2005, shown in Figure A.


John Cleese opens Lotusphere 2005. (click for larger image)

Actually it wasn't completely different, but also wasn't completely the same. One thing we did hear loud and clear is that Lotus is back. Lotus is back in the marketplace. Lotus has its momentum back. And Lotus is back in the eyes of IBM. During the opening session, where Ambuj Goyal, Lotus General Manager, seen in Figure B, gave the traditional state of the nation address, we had a clearer picture than we've seen for a year or two.


Lotus General Manager Ambuj Goyal during the opening remarks. (click for larger image)

Ambuj Goyal described excellent progress in Notes sales to the six thousand or so attendees, millions of new licenses sold in 2005, with the total number of Notes users now standing at 118 million, and by a couple of percentage points, leadership in messaging market share over Microsoft (46% versus 44%, with the rest nowhere). Another sign of good times for Domino is the nearly 1500 competitive trade-ups to Notes from other products, mostly Exchange 5.5. Ambuj also made comments about the loyalty of the Lotus user base, recognised to be the strongest in the industry.

I was also personally glad to see IBM is now much more strongly refuting Microsoft's claims in the market. Indeed, later on in the conference, Ed Brill said that where Lotus faces a competitive situation, they're winning in six out of every seven. Take-up of Notes 6 and 6.5 in the market is very strong too--several times we were shown a chart claiming that by December 2004, of the customers who called Tech Support, 94% were on 6.x or their Notes 6 upgrade was underway. That compares well with Microsoft's ability to get only half of its Exchange 5.5 customers (a seven year old product) to upgrade, another point made by Ambuj.