IBM Lotus’ GM Mike Rhodin outlines Lotus’ strategy

From eWeek, a wide-ranging, exhaustive interview with Lotus’ new General Manager, Mike Rhodin. (Exhaustive, sure – it’s four pages long!). Definitely worth a read.

Mike answers a lot of questions on some pretty prickly issues:

  • Clearing the mist around Hannover,
  • Supposed declining market share vis-a-vis Outlook/Exchange.
  • The awkward Workplace/Notes duality, and…
  • Google as a competitor!

I am SO glad that someone is asking these guys about Google/Yahoo. Both the Lotus guys and the Microsoft Outlook/Exchange teams, I mean. How long will it be before either of Google/Yahoo muscle into the corporate messaging and collaboration space? Here’s what Mike had to say:

How do you view Google, friend or foe?

Google is an interesting phenomenon. It’s an advertising company, an advertising company that made money because it had a good search engine. So it’s an advertising company based on a technology, which is a very interesting model in and of itself, and they’re using the capital they’re accumulating with that to branch into new areas. It’s really a fascinating area to watch from an innovation viewpoint because they’re coming out with a lot of cool stuff. But that cool stuff isn’t really new business models yet. It’s really cool stuff funded by capital they’ve built up through their core business, so I’m not sure where it’s going to end up yet.

We recently announced integration with Notes and Google on the desktop, and it’s a great capability. I have it on my desktop. It allows me to find stuff, that’s what Google’s always been good at. Do I view them as a competitor today in my business? Do I view them as a future possible competitor? Probably, depending on where they decide to go.

Oh, and I don’t think the former GM, Ambuj Goyal, is going to be too happy with this question, though: As GM, what are you going to do that’s different from your predecessors, Al Zollar and Ambush Goyal?

Ambush Goyal? :-)