Lotus is losing its stronghold on the European groupware market to Microsoft, according to the latest figures from research company IDC.
Although the company managed to retain its lead in the European groupware market during the first six months of this year, Microsoft is beginning to close the gap, according to IDC analyst Rebecca Wettermann.
Microsoft picked up more groupware users worldwide in the first half of 1999 than Lotus, gaining 3.98 million new users. But Lotus, which gained 2.87 million new users worldwide, still has a larger installed base worldwide than Microsoft.
In Europe, Microsoft picked up 580,000 new users during the first half, less than the 1.34 million gained in Europe by Lotus. However, the gap between the two vendors in narrowing in Europe, according to Wettermann.
"Lotus should be very worried, its sales were badly affected by delays to R5 and many of its existing customers are deciding to wait to upgrade and maybe even wait for the new version of Microsoft's Exchange," she said.
At the end of 1998, Lotus had a total of 29.6 million users worldwide, while Microsoft Exchange had 21.2 million. For the first half of 1999, Microsoft reported 8.10 million new users worldwide and Lotus reported 7.43 new users.
Wettermann warned that the figures for full year 1999, could see Microsoft taking an even greater hold worldwide and in Europe.
"IDC forecasts the new user market [in Europe] to grow to 11.6 million by the end of 1999, so clearly there are a lot of users to be won in the second half," she added.
Jim Moffatt, Lotus Notes product marketing manager commented: "We have never been worried. In the words of Andy Grove, 'only the paranoid survive'," he said.
"For the second quarter of 1999, we still had double digit growth. The figures do show that the market is consolidating around the two leading vendors - Microsoft and Lotus."
He said he believed Microsoft Exchange had already hit its peak and that growth would now begin to slow down.
"The figures will balance out by the end of the year, we tend to have more of a hockey stick growth, we tend to sell more in the November/December period," he said.
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