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To hear the folks at IBM tell the story, things have never been better for Lotus Notes.

Following the release of Notes 5 earlier this year, revenue generated by this venerable platform is at an all-time high, and a recent reorganisation of Lotus and IBM means that Notes will be brought further into the corporate fold.

In fact, customers will see the effects of this reorganisation next month, when IBM launches its first comprehensive corporate-portal strat-egy. This means that Notes is finally becoming a component of IBM's overall software architecture.

If you read the market-share numbers, there is some indication of trouble for Notes. Microsoft is making significant headway in the messaging marketplace with strong sales of Exchange. Lotus officials counter that a lot of these Exchange sales are of those bundled in with BackOffice and that most BackOffice.

Whether Notes or Exchange is the better choice comes down primarily to philosophy. The Microsoft platform requires a lot of additional third-party software to make it as rich as Notes. But Notes requires superhuman efforts to deploy and manage it in order to expose that richness to the average user.

Of course, both platforms may soon be obsolete. Collaboration and e-mail services are growing at a rapid rate, and the security issues will eventually be resolved.

So the real question is: does the Notes v Exchange battle really matter, or are we on the verge of moving beyond this discussion?

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