The battle between IBM's and Microsoft's collaboration platforms is starting to crackle again with IBM's announcement today that it will invest $100 million to expand Linux support and technology across
IBM will spend the money over three years and will focus broadly on research and development, ISV support programs, channel and partner promotions, various technologies and integration centers, among some of the areas. Platforms included are WebSphere Portal, Lotus Notes/Domino and IBM Workplace.
"Both Linux and Workplace are the future of the company, and they are putting their money where their mouth is," said Mark Levitt, a research vice president at International Data Corp., Framingham, Mass.
Workplace is a vision that IBM is presenting for enterprises and for small and medium-sized customers as a possible next-generation desktop using the portal as a big integration engine. The ability to differentiate persuasively between what Microsoft is offering with .NET and what IBM has with Workplace is critical, Levitt said.
"Having IBM software run on Windows is valuable, but IBM really needs to have something else, and now they have multiplatform support and the Linux lead," he said.
How big is Domino on Linux?
While other experts think the investment is great, not everybody is sure that it will have a big impact on all of IBM's
Connell said even though he thinks running Domino on Linux is viable, often the cost of Domino far exceeds the cost of a Windows Server license. "[IT departments] that set up Domino and Notes generally have a bit more money to spend," Connell said. "They're not scraping by on free machines to get something done."
At Lotusphere 2005 last month, IBM released new WebSphere Portal and Workplace products. It also released upgrades to Lotus Notes and Domino.