lotusnotesThe recent history and market maneuvers around the hosted services market are quite fascinating.

[[Microsoft]] has been in the hosted services game for a decade or more. The original online service, MSN, was quite consumer-centric and even the IM service, Messenger is consumer-centric. Near the turn of the millennium, Microsoft acquired a leading SMB-ish hosted software company – Great Plains Software – and focused their considerable energies on repositioning that service as one of a portfolio of offerings to address select communications services needs of small business, specifically search engine submissions, web hosting, email marketing and the like. With the acquisition of Placeware in 2003, Microsoft began to build up its Live Meeting offering and real time hosted services portfolio towards core business communications services. bCentral has been morphed into a small business Microsoft-centric resource center.

As discussed in other blog entries , with the acquisition of [[Webex]], [[Cisco]] has taken steps to close off the hosted services space as a platform for Microsoft dominance. They have correctly acknowledged (through action) that no competitor ought to be allowed unfettered access to any dimension of the market.

Now, [[IBM]] recognizes the same fundamental window to the market and at the Lotus Collaboration Summit in New York earlier in September 2007 announced Lotus Notes 8 (the latest release) being available on demand. 'On demand' is IBM-speak for hosted service. Of course, IBM Global Services have been engaged in managed services for the better part of two decades.

The Notes on demand offering is more managed than hosted. There is no multi-tenant capability so the implementation may seem a little costly to smaller organizations. Expected to cost something in the range of $5-$10/mailbox depending on the need for Sametime and Quickr services too.

I would expect that this offering will be attractive to Notes customers that are several revs behind and are facing big migration costs in software licensing and server hardware to get their implementation up to the latest release. An on demand solution is very effective at handling this scope of functionality and effecting a technology transition.

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