Who would have thought it? IBM is offering a product for less than Google. IBM's new LotusLive iNotes is a comprehensive hosted email system with webmail, Outlook access, Notes access, calendaring and contacts. It competes head-on with Google Apps for Enterprises. (IBM Press Release)
How does it compare? Google Apps for the enterprise is $50 per mailbox per year. IBM's price is just $36 per mailbox per year. That $14 can add up quickly for a decent sized organization. Think of it, a 10,000 person enterprise would save $140,000.
One big difference that I have noticed is that LotusLive INotes comes with just 1GB of storage per user, while Google Apps paid version includes 25GB. Additional storage is available and few users actually exceed 1GB. (That is an interesting part of Google Apps pricing. If even 10% of the users need a feature from the $50/year service, all users must upgrade.)
LotusLive iNotes is part of a suite of new LotusLive cloud-based services from IBM, including collaboration tools and web conferencing. But, the company thinks that the best way to get attention and interest from enterprises is through email.
"Email and other collaboration services are the right entry point for
many companies to realize the promise of cloud computing, but only if
clients feel confident they're getting business-grade service from a
trusted leader in enterprise services," said Bob Picciano, General
Manager, IBM Lotus Software.
Do they have a chance of beating Google? IBM is already the second largest provider of email software to business, behind Microsoft Exchange. They already claim 18-million mailboxes under management by LotusLive. (Funny — my spelling checker turned it into Lotus Love. Was that intentional?)
Now, to take on Google, IBM needs to find a way to be cool again.