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Online Collaboration Is The Future: IBM LotusLive & Panasonic Announce A Major Deal

This year, cloud computing services and collaboration platforms make for good stories, and this one deals with both. Next week, Big Blue is holding the Lotusphere Conference in Orlando—dedicated to all things dealing with LotusLive, their online collaboration suite—and this week they announced LotusLive’s exciting partnership with Panasonic.

Panasonic has adopted the LotusLive suite for email, calendaring, contact management, web conferencing, instant messaging, file sharing, and project management, and the apps will be available to about 100,000 employees in various departments at Panasonic. LotusLive will eventually be extended to 300,000 Panasonic employees, but the major coup for the suite comes via unseating Microsoft Exchange on Panasonic systems. Panasonic has decided to migrate from Microsoft Exchange, and in turn, IBM’s LotusLive deployment will be the largest cloud computing implementation to date.

The magnitude of the deployment cements the importance of online collaboration and SaaS platforms. We’re bound to see more of each this year, and I’m curious to see how IBM LotusLive competitors will respond. This adoption of LotusLive is also a blow go Google Apps, proving that it isn’t the dominant suite despite adoption by the city of Los Angeles. LotusLive is also cheaper than Google Apps—starting at $3 per user per month, while premiere versions of Google’s suite begin at $50—so we’re likely to see some price warring this year.

As for Microsoft: this is a mighty blow, but they’ll no doubt recover. Windows Azure is going fully live next month, and surely they’ve something up their sleeve. We’re just going to sit back and enjoy the show.