Microsoft, taking its annual dig at rival IBM/Lotus, announced a set of free tools it plans to ship in February to help customers migrate from Notes/Domino.
Like clockwork, Microsoft every year uses the eve of IBM's annual Lotusphere customer conference to entice users with its own collaboration wares. Lotusphere begins on Monday in Orlando, Florida and is expected to draw 7000 users.
The two giants have been locked in a battle for years over e-mail, instant messaging, conferencing, and now real-time communications tools such as voice and video .
This year, Microsoft is releasing a trio of tools and templates designed to ease a switch to its unified communications platform, which Microsoft has upgraded with the recently released Exchange 2007 and forthcoming upgrades to SharePoint Server 2007 and Office Communications Server 2007.
"This is what, the fifth or sixth time that Microsoft has built a magic box to migrate from Notes," says Ed Brill, a business unit executive for worldwide sales at IBM/Louts. "What makes this one any more likely to succeed?"
The set of tools, which are similar to those released in past years but with different names, is highlighted by Microsoft Transporter Suite for Lotus Notes.
"We have had a set of disjointed tools in the past," says Elisa Graceffo, group product manager for collaboration and portals at Microsoft. "What we have really done is unified them into a single suite with a common look and feel and enhanced the functionality."
Transporter helps walk customers from the planning stage through execution of messaging and directory migration. It includes coexistence tools to run Domino and Exchange side-by-side and migration tools for directories, mailboxes and applications.
Users can migrate accounts and mailboxes separately and move access-control lists during application migration.
Microsoft plans to make the tools and templates available for free from its web site in the next 30 days.