Via Alex Hernandex Daniel Lyons continued his seven years of predicting the imminent demise of Lotus Notes with a new article commenting on the latest IDC and Gartner figures. And just as I noted back in April, Lyons once again sets a trap by preemptively throwing out a "head-in-the-sand" charge against those of us who might disagree with him. And just like I did back in April, I'm stepping right in... but not falling for it.
Lyons is just as right today as he was in 1998. In other words, not at all. Amongst his problems right now is that he's looking at the wrong time window. IBM Lotus Software had a negative quarter in Q3 2004, so the IDC and Gartner figures to the end of 2004 that Lyons is citing just happen to catch the picture of the market at a time that makes things look bad. But Lotus had a solid Q4, and Q1 of 2005, and a great Q2. The numbers are all in an IDC report posted on the IBM web site. Yes, that's right... the same IDC whose 2004 numbers Lyons is quoting, and the trend is up. Way up. Of course, that's just a short term trend, too, but the long term trend ought to be clear to anyone who has been watching this market for the seven years that we know Mr. Lyons has. Plain and simply, here it is: Microsoft and IBM will trade the occasional customer, and they'll each pick off the occasional account from third, fourth and fifth parties, but if either one of them is going to make serious long term headway against the other it's not going to be measurable on a year-to-year basis. These players are both in it for the very long haul, and a few points here or there on some analysts' chart are meaningless.
And that's all it is: a few points. IDC's numbers show Microsoft with an 11% market lead. Gartner shows Microsoft with a 2.8% lead. There's a 3% loss for IBM in the IDC numbers for 2004, and not even that in the case of Gartner numbers, which Lyons says is a "tough one to accept for the Notes fans". Gartner says Lotus lost... get this!... a whopping 0.8%. Without even seeing the full report and raw data, I can state uncategorically that there's no way that that can be statistically significant. Nobody does market research with a margin of error that low. Yes, Gartner does say that Microsoft gained 3.8% year-to-year, and that might be just barely enough to be statistically significant, but clearly the majority of that gain was not at Lotus' expense. If Microsoft has been doing better at picking up Groupwise accounts or whatever else people are moving away from, IBM should certainly address that problem.
Did Microsoft have an actual, statistically significant market lead at the end of 2004? Probably. Common sense and my experience in the market tell me -- even more than the numbers -- that they did. Does it spell doom and gloom? No. Let's look at what IDC, which has the more dire-looking nubmers, has to say qualitatively rather than quantitatively. Here's the conclusion of the report linked above:
IBM’s 2Q05 performance gives credence to its contention that it is bullish about "gaining market share in the collaborative software . category," according to CEO Palmisano, and helps build a foundation for success in subsequent quarters. Further, its insistence on following a unique path that leads to a portal-oriented workplace is finally bearing fruit among its customers. IBM’s initiatives have given it notable visibility as providing choice (among operating systems and among a broad portfolio of collaboration products), role and verticalspecific solution sets (Workplace environments), as well as the ability to access a wide array of other packaged software products marketed under other IBM brands.
1. Nathan T. Freeman08/24/2005 04:40:22 AM
Actually, I think the marvelous thing about his article is this quote: "some users consider Exchange easier to use and understand than Notes."
Dan, users might consider OUTLOOK easier to use than NOTES. And administrators might consider DOMINO easier to use than EXCHANGE. But saying Exchange is easier to use than Notes is like saying my car is easier to use than your microwave. It makes no sense whatsoever.
I also see Dan's latching on to the "Lotus people moving to Microsoft" meme.
Love this line though... "Since last year some of the more die-hard fans have been bashing Radicati on Notes-related blogs, claiming that Sara Radicati, its chief, is a paid shill for Microsoft." Did I just get quoted?