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Office 365 turns Lotus eater

Microsoft licenses migration tool

Office 365 Portal

Microsoft has licensed Lotus-to-anything migration software from Binary Tree, and plans to use its partner's wares to lure Lotus customers away from IBM and into the cloud.

Kevin Allison, Microsoft's general manager of Office 365. has declared the deal a tremendous idea as it “... helps simplify the onboarding process and reduce Lotus migration costs.” Binary Tree, where the balance sheet presumably looks nicely healthy since the deal, is even more effusive in its praise of the very notion that Microsoft might encourage messaging migrations.

The tools Redmond now wields enable migration of Notes and Domino apps into SharePoint, plus migration of email, calendars and contacts databases into hosted Exchange environments. All of which has precious little to do with the personal productivity connotations that are raised by the name “Office”, but do speak eloquently about how that 365-ified version of that product name has come to serve as an umbrella term for Microsoft's hosted business apps.

IBM will undoubtedly be more than a little miffed by this latest move in Redmond's decade-long attack on Lotus, especially as it offers a new way to prise the stickiest element of any Lotus incumbency – custom applications - out of its clutches . Yet Big Blue has also spent a lot of time spruiking Lotus' ability to add social stardust to business of late, and clearly sees defending messaging accounts as something that's nice to do rather than critical.

Microsoft may therefore march off with some more Lotus accounts as a result of its deepened relationship with Binary Tree. IBM, one suspects, will continue to walk its own path. ®

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