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Lotus Dominating Groupware; But Microsoft Exchange Threatens

Microsoft Exchange is exercising its muscle in the market for integrated collaborative environment (ICE) software, commonly referred to as groupware, according to a study by International Data Corporation (IDC), an IT market research firm in Framingham, Mass. Depicting this market as experiencing increased competition and strategic positioning among its top players, the study shows Microsoft Exchange captured 5.7 million new users worldwide to narrowly edge Lotus Domino/Notes (5.3 million new users) for top honors in the first half of 1998. The study shows Lotus Domino/Notes maintained its market dominance with total worldwide users reaching 21.9 million by June of 1998, well ahead of its nearest competitors: Microsoft Exchange (15 million), Novell GroupWise (12.4 million), Netscape SuiteSpot ICE (5.2 million), and SoftArc FirstClass (4.2 million). These figures do not include licenses distributed but not actually deployed and used, or licenses sold to Internet service providers and other service providers to host subscribers. "The increase in bundling of ICE software licenses with other software and hardware products is having a tremendous effect on market dynamics," says Mark Levitt, research director, collaborative and intranet computing for IDC. "In the first half of this year there were millions of ICE user licenses and hundreds of thousands of ICE server licenses distributed in product bundles. Not surprisingly, vendors tend to count all of these licenses. The challenge that IDC and the rest of the industry faces is to accurately estimate the percentage of bundled ICE licenses that is actually deployed and used for collaborative purposes during a specific time period." The study also showed that enterprise (process-wide) groupware products continue to dominate the market, with team groupware from vendors such as ChangePoint, Instinctive Technology, IntraActive, Netmosphere, and NexPrise just beginning to pick up steam after emerging as a new segment in late 1997 to meet the flexible collaborative needs of project teams spanning multiple organizations.

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