Lotus eases licence plan to help users

Lotus is simplifying its licensing model and integrating its software with Microsoft technology in an attempt to make life easier...

Lotus is simplifying its licensing model and integrating its software with Microsoft technology in an attempt to make life easier for users.

Lindsay Clark

The IBM company admitted that buying its software could end up being an onerous task for large corporations, but was attempting to rectify the situation by placing its products in six broad pricing "buckets", with extensive discounts for enterprise users.

"We are no longer a one-product company and as a result we have failed to provide a price taxonomy that's simple for customers," said Jeff Papows, outgoing Lotus CEO. "We will make specific price points much simpler for customers to understand."

Tom Austin, vice-president with the GartnerGroup, said: "This should reduce the pain that some users feel. Their pricing will begin to look a lot more like Microsoft Backoffice and Enterprise licensing."

Lotus also announced that it would allow users to view the knowledge management service available on its Domino server product from a Microsoft Outlook desktop client. This will allow users to standardise on a single user interface, simplifying training and making the use of Lotus technology consistent with Microsoft Office products, Austin said.

"Many users say that they prefer the Outlook user interface and that it is superior to Notes," he said. "Despite what Lotus says, Microsoft has the monopoly on Office productivity tools and Outlook fits into the Office way of doing things."

Austin said a particular advantage would be offline working, where Domino is superior in replicating diaries and e-mail while users are not connected to company networks. "For the first time, Domino promises to make Outlook work well for people that want to work offline," he said.

To meet the needs of a growing number of businesses using handheld devices and Wap mobile telephones, Lotus said it would release MobileNotes, a scaled down Notes client that would allow users to access information on Domino servers while on the move.

nIncoming Lotus CEO Al Zollar has spoken in public for the first time since Papows announced his resignation. After more than 20 years with IBM he said he had no regrets about leaving the company.

"Anybody that has the opportunity to lead a brand as significant as Lotus would jump at the opportunity. I believe that I can bring a lot of experience from marketing, strategy and sales to help take the company to the next level. We still have a great deal ahead of us."

Zollar will take charge of Lotus during Febuary.

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