If you're wondering why Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has gone out of his way to badmouth IBM recently, there's a very simple reason: IBM has just released a cloud-based product that takes dead aim at one of Microsoft's cash cows, Exchange.
LotusLive iNotes is cloud-based service for e-mail, calendaring and contact management, and costs $3 per month per user, notes Computerworld. The magazine notes:
IBM is aiming the software at large enterprises that want to migrate an on-premise e-mail system to SaaS (software as a service), particularly for users who aren't tied to a desk, such as retail workers. It is also hoping to win business from smaller companies interested in on-demand software but with concerns about security and service outages, such as those suffered by Gmail in recent months.
In other words, it wants to take Exchange users away from Microsoft, as well as corporate Gmail accounts away from Google.
Ballmer is clearly not pleased, and most likely worried to a certain extent. That would explain his recent bizarre criticism of IBM for exiting the hardware business. As I've written in my blog, since exiting the hardware business IBM has thrived and its stock risen steadily, by 30 percent. In that same time frame, Microsoft's has declined by 30 percent.