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The State of the Groupware Space

By Carl Weinschenk (Send Email)
Posted Feb 19, 2003


With the two big players -- Microsoft and IBM -- in the product introduction phase, it is an interesting time for the groupware and collaborative application software market. Although new features are part of these and other packages, the lumbering economy makes total cost of ownership the key driver of new products across the sector.

An influx of smaller players and a focus on total cost of ownership is sculpting the shape of the groupware and collaborative applications space. This overview examines these and other trends, including the connection between e-mail and other applications, the growth of corporate instant messaging, and changing usage patterns among end users.

Groupware and collaboration is an extremely elastic category. The terms, in essence, refer to anything electronic that helps people work together efficiently. The space can include e-mail, calendaring, instant messaging, audio and video conferencing, document repositories of different types, content management, bulletin boards, and voice services.

Currently, Microsoft -- which is expected to introduce "Titanium" midyear -- has a 32 percent market share, according Marcel Nienhuis, an analyst for the Radicati Group. Nienhuis noted that IBM, which took the wraps off version 6 of Lotus Notes/Domino last fall, has 28 percent of the tie. For those of you keeping track at home, that means the behemoths currently own 60 percent of the market.

Novell, in case you're wondering, was once one of the big three, but it failed to take off when Microsoft and IBM started to expand their offerings. GroupWise has lost market share over the past two or three years and is no longer nearly as big a player as Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes/Domino. Several of the analysts we spoke with grouped it with the smaller players, which at this time include Critical Path, Gordano, Ipswitch, Mirapoint, Oracle, Qualcomm, Rockliffe, Sendmail, SmartMax, Stalker, Sun, and Vircom as well as a host of companies with marginal share.

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