IBM Expands Move2Lotus Program To Partners

Hoping it gives its partners more ammunition it the collaboration battle with Microsoft, IBM has announced an expansion of its Move2Lotus program designed to encourage users to move off Windows-based Exchange and over to Linux-based Notes.

Called "Migrate to the Penguin" the expanded program now has a number of new resources to help partners put together migration strategies or to build on existing Notes and Domino environments. Some of those resources include no-charge education and certification for Notes and Domino 7 in order to help partners to stay up-to-date on development skills, along with an offering that lets customers "try before they buy" through a hosted Notes/Domino environment.

"We have seen a growing number of organizations interested in moving away from proprietary-technology platforms in favor of an open-computing model," says Michael Loria, director of worldwide channels at IBM Software Group. "We continue to see Linux as one of the fastest-growing operating systems in the world, and more and more as a viable alternative to Windows as an e-mail and collaboration platform."

IBM officials say they have migrated close to 3,000 customers from Microsoft Exchange and other e-mail and messaging platforms to Lotus Notes and Domino during the past two years.

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Giving witness to the benefits of migrating off Exchange, GreyDuck Technology, an IBM business partner, created a new messaging environment for the California Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) and then helped that organization migrate over to Linux. Both GreyDuck and CCPOA officials say the move served to lower costs while introducing a number of improved messaging capabilities.

"CCPOA told us they wanted a nonproprietary e-mail and collaboration solution that provided more functions and flexibility," says Tom Hillebrand, GreyDuck Technology's COO. "What we developed for them on Linux let them interoperate with the other systems in their organization. It also gave them more freedom to choose their own hardware and operating-system software."

As part of the announcement, IBM has introduced a rebate program for resellers who successfully move users from Exchange to Notes on Linux. The program calls for resellers to receive a rebate for each seat of "trade up" licenses, up to 1,000 seats per Passport Advantage. The rebate also offers $20 per qualified seat with a maximum of $20,000 per partner. The program goes into effect today.