Competitors Make it Easier to Say 'No' to Microsoft

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 07-24-2006

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of articles that looks at how Microsoft plans to meet the enterprise needs of the mission-critical e-mail, calendaring and messaging market.

As Microsoft moves closer to the release of Exchange 2007, its e-mail, calendaring and messaging product, it faces increased competitive pressure from long-standing competitors like Lotus Notes as well as from newer open source solutions.

Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., released the second, widespread public beta for Exchange 2007 on July 24, with the product expected to ship in late 2006 or early 2007.

The second beta brings with it a host of new and improved functionality, and is feature complete.

Read more here about the release of the second beta for Exchange 2007.

Microsoft executives are also upbeat that they can grow their position in this highly competitive market.

Dave Thompson, the corporate vice president for the Exchange Server product group, told eWEEK that when he talked to CIOs about the alternatives, the competitor that most often came up was Lotus Notes.

While Novell's GroupWise is still used by some companies, it is being rapidly replaced with Exchange, he said, adding that open-source solutions are mentioned competitively only very occasionally.

"In fact I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times this has come up in the past two years," he said.

The Exchange team spent a lot of time and resources building a product designed for enterprises and with features like designated calendar scheduling, mobile access, compliance and anti-virus, which "requires a lot of work, and open-source platforms haven't become that sophisticated," he said.

Thompson also said that in all his discussions with existing Notes customers, the reason they stayed on that platform was not because the mail and scheduling experience was better, but because of the applications that ran on it.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: Competitors Turn Up the Heat on Microsoft Exchange