Lotus claims SmartSuite took 21% of Q1 market

Lotus' SmartSuite captured 21% of the suite market worldwide during the first quarter of this year, according to a senior Lotus official.

Lotus' SmartSuite captured 21% of the suite market worldwide during the first quarter of this year, according to a senior Lotus official.

Lotus' executive vice-president and chief operating officer, Jeff Papows, made the market share claim this week during a meeting with IDG editors and reporters at Lotus' headquarters here.

The claim is based on first-quarter market data from the Software Publisher's Association, Papows says, and reflects the total number of units shipped, including copies bundled on PCs. The SPA does not release market share numbers for a particular product or company, according to an SPA official, but it gives member companies such as Lotus figures for total industry shipments worldwide.

Last year, SmartSuite's share slipped to 11% of the market worldwide, Papows says. Although Lotus does not expect SmartSuite to overtake market leader Microsoft's Office product, the company set a target this year of improving to 20% of the market, Papows says.

"We'd rather be Avis than `Rent-a-Dent'," says Papows, referring to the rental car chain that competes with industry leader Hertz. "We're still No. 2, but we feel more like Avis."

This year, Lotus began an aggressive drive to get PC hardware manufacturers to bundle SmartSuite with their equipment. The effort started with parent company IBM and expanded to AST, the Acer Group, Fujitsu and Epson. About one-third of the first- quarter units shipped were sold bundled with PC hardware, Papows says.

"Microsoft is screaming bloody murder about bundling," Papows says, "which is like the pot calling the kettle black."

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