IBM launched LotusLive at this year's Lotusphere, with some associated confusion. It wasn't clear:
- Whether LotusLive was merely a rebranding of Bluehouse
- What the role of Notes/Domino would be, given the simultaneous announcement that IBM was acquiring Outblaze
Ferris recently had an additional briefing on LotusLive that has cleared up some of the confusion.
The key message is that LotusLive is a brand and not a product, and that the LotusLive brand will be applied to both an initial, and an expanding and evolving, set of products. The technology that will form the basis of some of these LotusLive products already exists in Lotus on-premise offerings, and some of these on-premise offerings (Notes/Domino, Sametime, QuickR) are already capable of multitenanted deployment (remember AT&T Network Notes!).
A LotusLive Notes (messaging only) offering will be available almost immediately delivering both rich (Notes) client and Web (iNotes) client support. LotusLive Notes will bundle support for: 1GB user mailboxes, an anti-malware facility, an online archiving facility, and QuickR Personal Edition with 50MB of storage. LotusLive Notes is aimed at larger organizations "with 1,000-10,000 employees." LotusLive Notes is directly comparable to Microsoft's Exchange Online offering. As IBM is yet to publicly release pricing information, a direct price comparison is not yet possible.
LotusLive Engage is effectively a rebranding of Bluehouse and remains in beta. It is being positioned primarily as an extranet offering:
- As Google is doing with Google Apps, Lotus is trying to significantly expand the footprint of online collaboration, beyond email, calendaring, and IM, so as to justify a for-fee service.
- IBM may also choose to host rebranded editions of Lotus Live Engage on behalf of ISPs (primarily, telcos) that would market these offerings to their subscribers.
- LotusLive Engage currently lacks an email component, and this was the primary reason for the Outblaze acquisition. Outblaze has also had considerable experience in hosting own-branded email services on behalf of ISPs, if IBM chooses to go down this route.
- LotusLive Engage subscribers will be able to invite guests, at no additional cost, to view their LotusLive Engage content.
- It is not clear why IBM chose not to employ LotusLive Notes for the LotusLive Engage role. In so doing, IBM has probably handed a significant marketing bullet to Exchange Online. Perhaps to blunt this, IBM has announced that LotusLive Engage will soon support an iNotes client (whatever that means) based on Outblaze technology.
- Functionally, LotusLive Engage is very similar to Microsoft's bundled online collaboration offering, which consists of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Communications Online, and Office Live Meeting. Microsoft's online offering is accessible from both rich (Office), and Web (browser) clients. LotusLive Engage is a Web-only offering. As IBM is yet to release pricing information, a price comparison is not yet possible.
... Nick Shelness
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