IBM’s head is in the clouds

It is all-too-easily forgotten that before Windows Vista arrived to draw the flak for being the world’s most denigrated piece of Software, Lotus – and latterly, IBM’s – Notes was the undisputed holder of the World’s Most Hated Software crown.

Anyone with the misfortune to have Notes inflicted on them as their email client at work either swiftly resorted to carrier pigeons or installed an illicit copy of the Outlook client and its Notes Connector. Although merely a bolt-on kludge to the ghastly groupware product, Outlook not only provided ease of use, but even delivered extra functionality over the native Notes client.

But that was then and this is now. Big Blue has just announced LotusLive iNotes, ‘a new email service that delivers the benefits of cloud computing with a focus on reliability, privacy and security, to millions of mainstream business users starting at $3 per user, per month’.

iNotes, eh? iWonder where they got that iDea from?

LotusLive iNotes cloud service works with Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange or operates as a standalone product. IBM says the LotusLive cloud mail platform supporting the service already has more than 18 million email accounts under management and is ideal for staff of enterprises who do not require full-featured email and collaboration software, or for employees who currently have no access to company email.

LotusLive iNotes is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses who enjoy the convenience and savings of free or low-cost web-based email services but are rather less keen on the service outages, advertisements or security and privacy concerns that can impact employee productivity and confidence.  As someone, probably me, once said: “Free email clients are worth every penny.”

“Email and other collaboration services are the right entry point for many companies to realize the promise of cloud computing, but only if clients feel confident they’re getting business-grade service from a trusted leader in enterprise services,” said Bob Picciano, General Manager, IBM Lotus Software.

LotusLive iNotes is aimed at people who don’t sit behind a desk all day but still need to be in touch with the rest of their organization and manage their calendar and contacts, using a shared corporate directory.

IBM is at pains to remind us that more than half of the largest global 100 corporations use Lotus Notes and Domino including the top nine aerospace and defense organizations, the top nine automotive firms, the top eight banks, the top four makers of consumer products, the top seven electronics firms, the top eight insurance companies, the top seven pharmaceutical organizations, and the top nine telecommunications carriers.

That’s quite a few unlucky people.

A no-cost, 30-day trial of LotusLive iNotes is now available which includes 25 mailboxes with 1 GB of storage per mailbox. The service and trial is available in English, Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and Spanish here.