Google Apps Trump IBM / Lotus iNotes Lame Offering

IBM marketing shows how NOT to compete with Google

Did you notice Google Apps has a new competitor? Didn't think so. You'd think IBM and Lotus could come up with 1) a better product to compete on Google's turf and 2) figure out a way to make a bigger splash. All we have here are lame offerings created by idiot vice presidents and marketed by other idiot vice presidents.

Stupid Mistake #1: trying to compete on price with Google. You can get much of Google Apps for free, which leaves little room for another company to undercut them. What are they going to do, pay you to use their “free” product? So IBM pushed iNotes at $3 per person per month if you pay upfront ($36 per year) or $3.75 monthly ($45 per year). Prices for other features like conferencing and event management run up into the $39 and $79 per user per month range. Google Apps is $50 per user per year. Do you see a huge savings with Lotus iNotes? I don't. Change is painful but sometimes necessary. Change for $5 or $14 is stupid.

Stupid Mistake #2: there's not many “apps” in the competition to Google Apps. For the $3 per month, you get e-mail, calender, contact list, and, let's see, ah, nothing. See the word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation apps? See the Web sites and shared wikis? My browser must be hiding those features on my system.

Stupid Mistake #3: 1GB storage space. Yes, 1GB. Google Mail, the free version, gives me 7.383GBs of storage. The paid version of Google Apps gives users 25GBs of storage. I haven't been impressed by 1GB of anything for a decade.

The IBM / Lotus pitch is “business class service and support” for their e-mail. At $36 per year, that's a pretty good pitch compared to $10-$15 per month for various hosted Exchange e-mail services. It's not a great pitch against other e-mail providers offering services at $1 per user per month. If iNotes from IBM / Lotus is worth three times more than other well known e-mail services, they haven't proved it to me yet. Have they made you want to dump Google and go iNotes?

If you're really curious, check out Microsoft Live and their SkyDrive. Free. 25GBs of space. Free. I wonder if IBM / Lotus ever heard of Microsoft?

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