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IBM out-cheaps Google with web-based business email

No frills for $36 per worker per year

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IBM has launched a bare bones web-based email system for businesses, calculated to undercut Google's own popular offering.

Big Blue's new LotusLive iNotes service starts at $36 annually per worker, compared to the $50 annually per worker that Google charges for its more comprehensive package.

The service includes 1GB of storage per user and comes with calendar and contact capabilities – although customers can buy an additional 100GB storage as needed. Google, meanwhile, starts off with a 25GB inbox and tosses in web-hosted word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications, as well as a tool for building a business intranet.

IBM's spin on a lack of extras is that it's "ideal for corporate workers who don't currently have access to corporate email or who are over-served by feature-rich collaboration capability that they don't use." And perhaps it's not too far off from what a typical worker actually needs in such a service.

The company is also banking heavily on its reputation as a venerable enterprise software and service provider. Google's recent spate of highly-publicized outages is therefore manna from heaven for IBM marketers to contrast with Big Blue's abundant claims of "proven reliability." However, Google isn't using exactly Tinker Toys to runs Gmail, and the very nature of web-based software is there's no guarantee of 100 per cent uptime. This is a boast that could bite IBM in the ass later.

IBM must also be careful not to cannibalize its similarly no-frills LotusLive Notes service, an on-premise email package that starts at $108 annually per user. LotusLive iNotes will also compete against Microsoft's web-based email package that costs about $120 annually per year.

The service is being offered in two flavors: $3 per month for annual payments or $3.75 monthly. IBM is also offering a free 30-day trial to prime the pump. ®

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