Compaq, Digital face ugly scene merging corporate mail: Lotus

Lotus has a warning on mergers and messaging: it's a lot easier with Notes. Lotus officials, prompted by the merger and acquisition fever which reached its peak last week, said Compaq and Digital face an ugly scenario if they want to merge their messaging systems.

Lotus has a warning on mergers and messaging: it’s a lot easier with Notes.

Lotus officials, prompted by the merger and acquisition fever which reached its peak last week, said Compaq and Digital face an ugly scenario if they want to merge their messaging systems.

Both companies use Microsoft Exchange, which hard-codes company names into all user profiles, servers and messages and has no cross-certification.

The upshot of that is a reinstallation of 50,000 clients, at a cost of up to $US100 a seat.

Until then, employees on either side of the merged company will only be able to email each other through an SMTP gateway.

Lotus communications products director Eileen Rodden, speaking at Lotusphere in Florida, last week, said “we’ve actually been very successful in this respect.

“I believe we are the only enterprise mail system that can offer customised mail templates. And many of our larger customers have taken good advantage of that.”

Lotus chief technology officer Nick Shall-ness pointed out that Notes has had cross-certification since version 3.

“Microsoft built this notion of a site into Exchange. It’s relatively hard to do things on a site in practice, but it’s virtually impossible to do things between sites,” Shallness said.

“Notes has the concept of a domain, which is a relatively soft organisational concept. You can expand a domain fairly easily. Once you’ve cross-certified at the top level, you’ve joined the two environments.”

Notes and Domino product manager Cliff Reeves confessed he had only recently discussed the same issue with a major customer.

“And he said, ‘Look, I’m in a merger — and acquisition-prone world. There’s a good chance I will form an alliance or be bought. And the notion of pushing a lot of technologies to the server side gives me flexibility about how I deploy my clients.

“It’s a fundamental lubricant to effective business mergers — and we have an absolute exclusive on that.”

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