I wanted to draw your attention to an item that I am forwarding to you and posting this afternoon to the Top Stories section of our Web site (www.Lotus.com). The posting, entitled "12 Myths in Search of a Competitive Position," addresses Netscape Communications Corp.'s relentless and glaring misrepresentations of basic facts about Lotus' products and business.
While we enjoy market leadership, we certainly expect to encounter competition. Competition is our friend, in fact, helping build awareness for the value of what we offer and growing our market opportunity.
Competition is one thing. The discrepancy between truth and reality that we've been seeing is another. It's gotten to a point now that we need to do the work necessary to clarify facts for our customers and for you on whom they depend for accurate information. I encourage you to take a look at our posting and give me a call to discuss as we are prepared to follow up with you to give you all the facts.
This is an unusual step for us to take, but the level of misrepresentation on the Netscape Web site, and at major industry and financial conferences has reached a level that we cannot ignore. I actually believe that you cannot afford to ignore it either.
The Web posting appears below.
12 Myths In Search of a Competitive Position
Although we at Lotus continue to build momentum as the leading groupware and messaging vendor (see press release IDC Report Validates IBM/Lotus Continued Dominance in Global Groupware Market), and are extending that leadership to the Internet market, we certainly expect to encounter competition along the way. In fact, the recent entry of Microsoft and Netscape into the market for Web-based enterprise groupware has affirmed the value proposition of groupware in an exploding IT market fueled by wide interest in leveraging the Internet and the World Wide Web to run businesses and generate value.
We believe that this affirmation was a key contributing factor to the enormous growth we saw in our groupware and messaging business in 1996. We also expect to continue to benefit from the presence of competitors whose offerings affirm the importance of Web-based groupware but do not measure up to the rapidly advancing Lotus offerings.
While we welcome competition, we believe it is important to compete in a factual context. Customers appreciate the opportunity to make comparisons in the context of reality. In recent weeks and months, spokespersons for Netscape Communications Corp. have consistently misrepresented Lotus
products in written materials, and in public forums, including Netscape.com and industry conferences such as the Goldman Sachs Technology Conference, held in New York City last week
We decided to offer clarification on some of the most obvious mistruths for the benefit of visitors to Lotus.com. After all, there's a reason Lotus has used Jack Webb ("just the facts, ma'am) instead of "Joe Isuzu" in its Domino TV ads.
"Lotus touts its multiplatform support, but Domino doesn't support the Unix variant of Lotus's own parent company - IBM's AIX - a platform that SuiteSpot supports." -- from Netscape.com
Lotus developers are beginning to wonder whether anyone at Netscape has ever seen Domino. Lotus has delivered extensive Domino support for AIX, IBM's Unix operating system. In fact, the Virtual Lotusphere site hosted nearly 1 million hits/day last month on an IBM RS/6000 system running Domino and AIX. Hello?
Domino is more expensive than SuiteSpot.
Did you ever walk out of a car dealership wondering what happened to that low price the salesman first quoted you? Customers who purchase the Netscape solution must pay additional for future calendaring support, connections to mail, collabra, directory and calendar servers, fail-over,
load-balancing, or custom application development necessary to make a Netscape solution begin to approach the Notes and Domino groupware environment. Watch the extras, folks; it'll make your head swim. The truth is that Netscape is REALLY more expensive. We've shown that in direct price comparisons (check out the most recent one at www.lotus.com/compare).
Lotus customers are abandoning Domino and Notes and migrating to Netscape products. U.S. West Xilinx, LSI Logic, and many other former Lotus customers are migrating to Netscape's messaging solution.
Customers who may have purchased products from both Lotus and Netscape during the past six months are characterized in a current Netscape Web site posting as "former Lotus customers migrating to Netscape's messaging solution." In fact, just last quarter, Lotus shipped more than 30,000 seats of Lotus Notes to the very customers cited in the Netscape posting.
Domino does not support integration with IBM's DB2.
Tight integration between Notes/Domino and DB2 is among the most prominent achievements shared by IBM and Lotus during the past two years. Where has Netscape been?
MORE SMOKE AND MIRRORS
Domino does not support encryption outside the firewall.
Actually we've done this for years. Our encryption allows Notes users to exchange public keys for decryption across the firewall.
Domino does not support Digital signatures inside and outside the firewall
We've been providing this functionality for years, allowing users to distribute keys across firewalls.
Netscape (according to a chart now on its Web site) is the only vendor now providing native LDAP, NNTP, IMAP4, and SMTP/MIME support.
First of all, Netscape itself has not delivered native support of all of the protocols listed. Netscape is beta testing products it says will offer this support, but these products have not been delivered. Ah, if only the corporate enterprise ran on steam, Netscape would be the right choice! Lotus supports NNTP and SMTP today, and has demonstrated support for LDAP and IMAP that it will deliver in products shipping later this year.
Netscape is the only vender that supports 4500 users on a single server.
This is no more than a claim. Lotus is the only intranet vendor with a benchmark process and published external benchmarks.
Netscape is the only vendor to offer end users the ability to publish and manage a wide variety of document formats
The Notes object store has long supported many document formats -- in a database with replication, access control, indexing and application development, not a simple OS file system like SuiteSpot. Lotus does indeed offer end users this capability, even allowing them to publish Active-X controls.
Netscape is the only vendor to offer automatic document link management
This is a basic Domino function.
Netscape is the only vendor to offer end-user management of access control lists.
This is one of the most basic and compelling attributes of the Notes/Domino environment. Millions of Notes users have been using this capability for years. In fact, the Notes access control model continues to be the most advanced in the market, including capabilities like roles support, secure document sections and field-level encryption. Netscape has yet to even ship basic access control capabilities.
Netscape is the only Web server vendor that provides high capacity modular services at the server.
Domino allows the customer to selectively activate such high capacity servers as MTAs and Calendaring. Sure, SuiteSpot is entirely modular. There will soon be nine servers to install, configure and support in order to build their intranet solution. These servers come from multiple origins, including Netscape, Collabra, Software.Com and CS&T. They will each have their own individual Java interfaces (IFCs) which developers will need to master in order to wire them together to build solutions. In addition, these immature servers lack architectural consistency. They don't share common access control models, storage models, synchronization models, agent services engines or indexing models.
Netscape also fails to mention that other vendors' servers can be mixed and matched with Netscape servers only if they support Netscape's proprietary IFCs -- which no vendor currently does. In their new client "suite", even the taskbar in the new Communicator is completely non-customizable, preventing users from swapping out for a preferred EMail or Usenet client, for example.