Exchange, Office 365 and Outlook dominate the business email market today and we are forecasting that they will gain market share over the next two years. There are three basic reasons for Microsoft’s dominance in the business email market.
- First, these offerings are pretty good – they work more or less as advertised and they integrate nicely with a wide variety of other solutions from Microsoft and other vendors.
- Second, they’re from Microsoft, the “IBM of the 1960s” choice for decision makers who often want to take the more conservative route by using only established, household names for their IT infrastructure.
- Finally, whether this was intentional or accidental, it was genius on Microsoft’s part for “Outlook” to become synonymous with “our corporate email system”. As I’ve written about in a previous blog post, many business decision makers have pushed their IT department toward Exchange because they like Outlook, assuming the latter is the email system and not simply an email client.
Non-sequitur: Tim Tebow is an incredibly polarizing figure in the NFL: virtually anyone who knows about his brief tenure in professional football either loves or hates him, but there are scant few in the middle. Despite leading the Denver Broncos to the playoffs in 2011, he never started another NFL game and today is only a memory in professional football.
Why? It might have to do with his outspoken Christian faith, charges that he doesn’t practice well, or his being a “distraction”. While the reasons for his not being in the NFL vary, it probably wasn’t because of his performance. For example, Tebow’s career Total Passer Rating is better than the rating for some of this year’s NFL starters. In his playoff-clinching 2011 season, he threw for 12 touchdowns, tied with or better than eight of this year’s NFL quarterbacks. In his first year in the NFL, his passing yards-per-attempt stats would place him fifth among this year’s quarterbacks, ahead of Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers, Tom Brady and Cam Newton.
In some ways (and, yes, I know this will be a bit of a stretch for some), many mail systems are like Tim Tebow in one important respect: they’re better than some of the mail systems that are more commonly deployed, even though there are good reasons they should be selected. For example, a single administrator can run a Novell GroupWise deployment for 15,000 users, a level of administrator efficiency that more commonly deployed mail systems can’t match. Alt-N MDaemon Messaging Server is dramatically cheaper than Exchange Server 2013 Standard – 94% cheaper. Notes/Domino runs on a much wider variety of server platforms than Exchange. Zimbra has a number of advantages over Exchange in terms of cost-of-ownership and ease of deployment.
Again, this is not to say that Exchange is not a solid offering from an even more solid vendor. But there are reasons to at least consider other email platforms that might not be as conventional, “safe” or popular.