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Microsoft, IBM Spar over Panasonic Deal

Well, this just doesn't seem like friendly competition at all. After IBM announced last week that Panasonic was ditching Exchange for the hosted LotusLive e-mail offering, Microsoft started grousing about the deal.

An Exchange product manager at Microsoft claimed that fewer than 4 percent of Panasonic employees had been using Exchange before the IBM deal, anyway, and that Lotus was still getting clobbered in the collaboration market. IBM responded with something along the lines of "nuh-uh," saying that more than 4 percent of Panasonic workers had been using Exchange...and the back and forth just kind of went on from there.

What was the point of all of this bickering? We're not sure. It's true that IBM's win represents a big victory over Microsoft and a triumph for the cloud itself, but why would Microsoft want to start publicly picking it apart? To us, grumbling from Redmond about the deal not only sounds like sour grapes but also calls attention to a high-profile customer loss, something Microsoft and its channel probably don't want to do.

From what we've observed, Exchange really is taking it to Lotus Notes in the collaboration market. (Anybody with numbers to the contrary should send them to us.) Maybe Microsoft should talk about that -- which, to be fair, the product manager tried to do -- rather than moan about the details of a deal lost. And maybe pushing hosted Exchange and talking about Azure in more specific terms (the latter of which Microsoft is starting to do) would also be good ideas. Sometimes Redmond just baffles us.

How do you handle the loss of a big account? Send your answer to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on January 21, 2010 at 11:56 AM