Microsoft edges IBM, Novell in US groupware market

Microsoft Corp. dominated the U.S.'s collaborative software market for the first calendar quarter of 1999, gaining 1.9 million [M] new Exchange users, according to International Data Research Corp. (IDC) findings.

Microsoft Corp. dominated the U.S.'s collaborative software market for the first calendar quarter of 1999, gaining 1.9 million [M] new Exchange users, according to International Data Research Corp. (IDC) findings.

IBM Corp.'s Lotus/Domino Notes and Novell Inc.'s GroupWise also saw a significant number of new users, with 1.4 million [M] and one million [M], respectively. IDC's figures only count licenses for software that was deployed by organizations for internal users.

Business customers will benefit from the growing competition between Microsoft, IBM and Novell, according to Mark Levitt, research director of IDC's Collaborative Computing research program. This environment will lead to competitive prices and product updates with greater functionality. "The second quarter of 1999 will be a tight head-to-head battle."

Year-2000 readiness was the driving force behind groupware sales in 1999's first quarter.

To ensure that systems are year-2000 compliant, companies are buying and deploying new groupware systems which address Y2K bugs, Levitt said. For example, companies that are concerned with old email systems are investing the top groupware products that are guaranteed to work after Jan. 1, 1999, he said.

"Purchasers need to pay attention to this marketplace because groupware is not a solution that you install and ignore," he said.

Preparing for Y2K will have continued to boost groupware purchases in this year's second quarter as well, Levitt predicted.

"As we approach the latter part of the year, most organizations will have their new groupware installed and not be looking for major changes," said Levitt. "Companies will begin to shift their focus to Y2K contingency plans."

IDC, in Framingham, Massachusetts, can be reached at +1-508-872-8200 or at http://www.idc.com/.

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