In a move the truly shocked me (in a good way), IBM have priced the newly announced 1.3 version of LotusLive Notes at $5. Wow. That's right folks, $5 per user per month. For an annual cost of $60 per user per year. Not only that, but this includes at no extra cost the Lotus Notes 8.5.2 client software. This will be available on 24th August...the same day 8.5.2 is released.

It also includes 25GB of mail And Sametime IM. And email spam and AV protection.

This gives IBM a very compelling cloud footprint with various features at various price points. For instance, add another $5 to the price (for $10/u/m) and you also get LotusLive Engage (which includes LotusLive Meetings and other goodies). If $5 is too expensive go with the $3 LotusLive iNotes and loose Notes client access and Sametime IM (and a few other things) but gain IMAP and POP3.

This is not the only news for the 1.3 release. The minimum user count needed to start has been reduced from the shocking high 1,000 seats to  a somewhat more palatable 25 seat minimum. This is a move in the right direction, but I'd still like to see this come down to a minimum seat purchase of 1 user (you can do 1 users with LotusLive iNotes).

What is missing today, and will be until sometime Q4 2010 is mobile access. In Q4 IBM will add Lotus Traveler access to LotusLive Notes for iPhone, Nokia and WM access. IBM are currently working with RIM and BlackBerry BES access is expected to be added. No time frames on the that though.

So all is sunny in the cloud right? Not quite.

I really, really love IBM's offerings here but there is a slight problem. See these offerings are "priced" per user per month, but you can't buy per user per month. You have to purchase annually, for a full 12 months. This has been an issue with LotusLive for a while, but I believe IBM loose a ton of sales because of this. Lets take a simple example, web meetings aka LotusLive Meetings. I use. I like it. But you have to purchase this annually. WebEx, LotusLive Meeting's main competitor can be purchased on the recurring monthly basis. Why is this an issue? Well, a salesman can expense $49 per month for WebEx and not flag any checks and balances. LotusLive meetings is only $39 per month, but you have to pay annually, so the real cost is $468 which is a whole lot harder to hide in an expense report. No sale, do not pass go, salesman goes with WebEx.

I'd also like to see credit card purchases added too. This and the "recurring monthly payment" are must haves if IBM are to succeed in the cloud. IBM have to understand the purchase decision of 1-25 users is significantly different to a 500 person company and that IBM has to come down to their level. When are are selling as a commodity just one hiccup at  the purchase time and the shopper goes elsewhere. Right now this hiccup is an insurmountable  mountain.

Still with the 25GB mail allowance and the $5 price point IBM are starting to get the cloud thing. I'm hopeful the other things required for a successful cloud presence will come in time. I just hope it is not more than a few months.

Oh, and if you want a 99.9% SLA, be sure to ask for it.

Darren Duke   |   August 11 2010 05:43:02 AM   |    lotuslive    |  
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Comments (3)

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1 - Ed Brill    08/11/2010 8:02:29 AM

so whilst it is an annual contract, there is a monthly billed version of all the SaaS parts that addresses the expense-on-a-monthly-basis scenario.

Credit card billing is also available now, through the IBM Software Catalog. It needs some refinement but we did a live demo of purchasing LotusLive Engage via credit card last week at IamLUG.

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2 - Darren Duke    08/11/2010 8:14:10 AM

@1, and no one mentioned this as part of all this hullabaloo? Anyway....great stuff. Now, for partners to be able to do this ..... ;)

Will the credit card stuff be recurring monthly billed? So as to avoid the expense report "checks and balances" issue?

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3 - Ed Brill    08/11/2010 11:07:23 AM

on the pricing chart yesterday I specifically said "billed annually or monthly" for the LL Notes or LL Notes+Engage new customer offerings.

On the credit card bit, it's a one time charge through the IBM online software catalog.,D0C4WLL,D08SPLL,D08SLLL,D08SMLL,D08SJLL,D0CPZLL&catalogLocale=en_US&Locale=en_US&country=USA&PT=html&S_TACT=none&S_CMP=none&brand=lot