Lotus Notes vs. Microsoft Exchange (Battle of the giants ?)

There is an ongoing battle between Lotus and Microsoft:

Microsoft insists on "comparing" Lotus Notes to Microsoft exchange.
The basic strategy is to misrepresent Notes as a glorified (proprietary) email system.
Microsoft also manages to cast Lotus Notes strengths as weaknesses.
Lotus Notes is a
groupware product (whatever definition you choose!) while Exchange is a messaging system.
(As an aside if you want some big picture ideas about groupware and collaboration check out the Computer-Supported Cooperative Work page)

The dialog between Microsoft and Lotus makes interesting reading...

Lotus now has page dedicated to Comparing Notes and Domino to other products.

And, in the spirit of equal "air time", here is Microsoft's Page Comparing Lotus Notes/Domino and Microsoft Exchange Server


Here was one of the first attacks from Microsoft...
An "architectural comparison" between the messaging properties of Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange

And here is an interesting page of Microsoft Exchange Issues

If you are interested, Here is the Microsoft Exchange Server Web

Other Views..

The Independent Newspaper for Windows NT Enterprise Computing
Lotus: Domino's Not A-Tumblin'

Lan Times Comparison..
Lotus Notes and Domino 4.5a
Microsoft Exchange Server 5.0

Intranet World
Web-based collaboration is improving, but Notes rules


What is my opinion ?

(First let me say I like Microsoft. I'm using Frontpage 97 right now and I love VB.)

Notes and Exchange are very different products for different purposes.
Get clear on what you want to accomplish and the decision between them becomes clearer)

Microsoft should stop wasting its time "Lotus bashing".
Instead, It should reproduce Notes functionality in a new product using an "industry standard" open development platform. (More realistically Bill Gates should buy up some startup that has already done just that).
Microsoft can then stand back and watch all the developers flock to the new product.
(It wouldn't hurt if this new product became part of the Windows operating environment as well! )

Microsoft could then blow Notes out of the water.
Why would that happen, you ask...?

I have grown to "like" Notes, but I'd be the first to agree that Notes development is more of an arcane art than an engineering science. Development seems to rely on techniques that "trick" Notes into doing what you want.

Lotus Notes was, I believe, developed for end users. ( Let's face it, Notes forms are document templates based on a word processing paradigm, a paradigm familiar to end users ).
Programmers coming to Notes from other platforms cannot believe the development practices used in Notes.

Notes is a mixture of @formulas, Lotusscript and "simple actions". Some events can be programmed, others are unavailable. Some event processing can be programmed in @formulas only, some in Lotusscript only. To this Lotus now adds Java !

If Microsoft could reproduce the Notes/Domino functionality ( unstructured storage objects, replication, security, web server functionality etc.) in a single product aimed at developers, I think it could "win" the battle. Programmers would choose this new product over Notes and users would have to follow.

That is a tall order because I believe Notes is a unique product and has "years" head start over any competition.
With IBM I really don't see how Notes can fail and I don't really want to see it fail.
The one chink in the armor is that Notes has been around for a while and upgrades must be able to handle the millions of existing Notes databases currently in use. In this sense Notes has become a "legacy system".
A new product, starting from a clean slate, could possibly overtake Notes.

Enough of my humble ( Ha ! Ha! ) opinion.