Online Extra: Gates: “IBM Isn’t Doing That Much”: “Q: Earlier, you were somewhat dismissive about IBM’s ability in this business. Do you think IBM will not be a significant competitor in the collaboration software market for you guys?
A [Gates]: I think IBM’s success in the productivity software business will stay the same that it has been. Do you know anybody using DisplayWrite, OfficeVision, or 1-2-3? What they have is they have a bunch of individual products that they put under an umbrella. WebSphere is an umbrella name. Workspace is an umbrella name.
They are IBM. So you always have to take them seriously, just like we took OfficeVision seriously and their acquisition of Lotus seriously. The only thing really left from Lotus at this point is the Notes piece. And you can look at what has happened with the share of that. They’re not even defending what they’ve had very well at this point. But it just sort of shows in the area of productivity, Microsoft has to push the frontiers on our own. That’s the business model that we live in. All we get to sell is our innovation. We don’t get to sell the existing strength that we have. It’s just the new breakthrough stuff. And hence, you need brilliant people like Ray and his team to drive that forward, full speed. “
This is just a short ‘clipping’ from the overall interview, but does contain some very strong points. Besides Lotus Notes/Domino nothing much is left in the Lotus portfolio (didn’t they have an Officesuite at one time ?). Futhermore the collaboration market takes a lot of hard work and innovation, both for IBM and Microsoft. In some area’s IBM/Lotus may have a slight advantage, but they defenitly need to keep looking in the rearview mirror. The Microsoft train is approacing …