GroupWise and Nokia Intellisync

GroupWise and Nokia Intellisync

As you have already heard, Nokia has announced the discontinuance of the Intellisync suite of products, which Novell has OEMed as GroupWise Mobile Server. We did not receive any forewarning of this announcement, and it was equally a surprise to our Intellisync contacts within Nokia.

This leaves a lot of questions, some of which we are still working out the details to, however, Nokia will continue to support Intellisync Mobile Suite for an additional 2 years, and Novell still has distribution rights for the product.

Obviously we need to come up with a strategy to continue to support your mobile devices going forwards, and we have already been working on that strategy for some time. The recent announcement from Nokia simply accelerates that strategy, which is not necessarily a bad thing. As we solidify the details we will be able to share that strategy more publically, but in the meantime please be assured that this is a top priority for the GroupWise team and Novell as a whole.
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I wonder if they are willing to put that unit up for sale for another company to purchase.
Sure hope Novell comes up with something, or this will be the last nail in the coffin !!! Without mobile device support, GroupWise will be dead in the water.
Do you have or can you get the source?
What about GMS 3.0, beta is out, will there be a release?
The release of GMS was the killer feature to push Groupwise into our company. If the mobile support breaks away, goodbye Groupwise...
May be a good alternative to become OEM for ...
This is the origin of Intellisync's end: (beta)
Notify Link seems to have had inside info on this... They were saying that Intellisync was out and that they were going to be the new GMS provider over 2 months ago.....
We are considering everything, though we already had a roadmap in mind and accelerating that roadmap is the most likely course of action. It should be noted that the Nokia press release did menton that Nokia were not planning on selling the business.
As I mentioned, a mobile story is very important to Novell and our customers so we absolutely will come up with something.
As with most agreements of this type we don't have the source code. Note that Nokia have committed to 2 years of support for the product, which gives us some time to decide and implement a long term mobility strategy
We are still figuring it out - we are talking with Nokia to decide what releases there are going to be and when they will happen. It is likely that GMS3.0 will be released but Novell's main priority is to get GroupWise 8 out of the door first
We understand the importance of mobility and it continues to be a key part of our strategy.
Time to pack up the GroupWise my friends; looks like this really is the end of the road.
I don't think it would be wise for Novell to continue with Intellisync even if it would be possible.. it's not the main business and needs lot of effort.

If there are other working 3rd party apps for GW mobility, let's look at those... (and don't forget Nokia Symbian support)

Or, bring activesync to Groupwise, that would give more options.

I've been in contact with them. Seems to be a similar product to gms and plus they support/sync Iphones, which is becoming more the norm in our company. Maybe worth jumping ship and joing them now.
Have you looked at a product called NotifyLink which also supports iPhones for Groupwise?

You have been talking about GW 8 for a long time. GW7 came out in 2005. Three years and maybe four, is just too long for an upgrade. I have worked very hard to keep GW in our company while everyone around me keeps saying go to Exchange. This might be the straw that breaks the camels back.
What about Outlook 2003 to Outlook 2007? That was a few months over 3 years.
I think you are jumping the gun there.
It has been a long and hard road for GroupWise. When I personally met with Jeff Hawkins who was in charge of Novell Collaboration products, he was in the process of signing the deal with InteliSync. The roadmap was to use IntelliSync as a conduit to connect GroupWise to MANY other systems and applications, and not only Mobile Devices. GroupWise was going to integrate with many CRM systems, PeopleSoft and many other applications.

This was almost 4 years ago. What have you guys been doing since? Your statement of "though we already had a roadmap in mind and accelerating that roadmap is the most likely course of action" is another typical marketing statement and an empty promise, attempting to give a dying product one last jolt of life.

I've seen working version of Bonsai (GW8.0) and have seen the roadmap to Ponderosa (GW9.0) and I'm not really that impressed. They should be called GW7.6 and 7.7 respectively.

Much like many people, I'm saddened by seeing GroupWise to go away, but my business demands creativity, innovation and technology. I don't see any of it in GroupWise, its development team and Novell as a company. How sad...
But with major changes! Good or bad is not the point here.
Folks, we are talking about Groupwise and Intellisync here on a Novell blog.

Lets keep the talk about inferior products to a minimum. Plus, the whole world is moving to the Dark Side, they have millions of their own sites to chat about their products, its greatness (sic) and of course all the thousands of issues it has.

Lets keep Novell sites clear of their nonsense and rather concentrate on the issue in hand. Those who know, know and understand the superiority of Groupwise. We understand that Novell's buying power doesnt extend to that of The Darkside who gobbles up small businesses and then palms of its IT products as their own.......Novell relies on external sources to enhance their already fantastic products. If those sources suddenly pulls the plug, then so be it, its not Novell's fault (for all we know, the Darkside may have given the developer a tidy backhander to stop supporting the rebels in a bit to crush their resources). But in this case all's not lost. If anything notifylink is better than Intellisync. It caters for more systems, whereas GMS was mainly aimed at symbians and windows mobile. I know for a fact that I-phones are supported on notify-link.

Groupwise Rocks, always has, always will !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If Nokia stops IntelliSync it will be stopped for Exchange and Notes too. So there is no advantage to switch away from GroupWise.
So GroupWise, Exchange and Notes have the same problem. We can complain that GroupWise has lost or will loose a solution. I am considering if Exchange administrators are complaining in the same way ...

Don't tell me that Exchange is using a solution "Out of the Box" offering the same features and supporting the same hype of mobile devices.

The grass in neighbour's garden is not really greener!
.. Nokia still provides Mail for Exchange.
If you look back in history, it was only a couple of years ago that more than 50% of what GroupWise partners were doing had to do with mobility. Partners like Omni, Messaging Architects, Nexic, NotifyLink, Advansys, RIM and Toffa all had more or less good solutions for the GroupWise market.

Then Novell, in its ultimate wisdom, turned their back on those very loyal partners and decided to work with Nokia and offer a 'free' mobility solution with GroupWise 7. This move of course wasn't received with a lot of enthusiasm by the GroupWise partner community. To say the least.

Now Novell got back stabbed by Nokia, which is maybe fair from the above perspective, but at the end of the day GroupWise customers, partners and the channel are hurt by this in a time where already too many customers are migrating to Exchange instead of moving to GroupWise 8, not because they don't trust the GroupWise technology as such, on the contrary, but just because they don't trust Novell to execute properly on what customers and the market demand of such a solution.
Few months, Yes... but Outlook 2007, eventhough more pleasing to the eye, is full of bugs. I'd rather wait longer for a 'finished' product than get something which will turn my hair grey from frustration
The big disadvantage of Notifylink is its reliance on Windows as Server BS and MS SQL Server etc. I could imagine rather big scaling issues - they recommend 3 servers for bigger installations.

The charme of the intellisync solution is(was?), that it can be run on Linux.

I couldn't have said it any better.
Contrary to your statement seat count and revenue of GroupWise are actually growing, and we are seeing a surge in many markets. I am not in marketing, so my statements should not be taken as such. We have a plan in place and are executing on it. Novell is committed to the collaboration market, as demonstrated by the Sitescape purchase, and we have roadmaps that reach out a number of releases for both product sets.

Ponderosa is an OES codename, so I am not sure what it is that you saw.
For the folks that are suggesting that this could spell the end for Groupwise, please step back and take a breath. Novell partnered with Nokia to offer us a 'no additional cost' method for synchronizing mobile devices. That was really nice, but for quite some time, you've had alternatives - albeit at a cost. If you'll take a few minutes to think about the cost of a third party sync solution, like Notify, and compare that to the added cost of using an Exchange solution, it still doesn't make sense to migrate away from Groupwise.

I also have to disagree with the comments about the lack of major progress in the upcoming 8.0 release. Novell didn't completely redesign the end user interface as Microsoft did with Outlook 2007 - and that's a good thing. Microsoft has made changes for the sake of change, not progress. There are plenty of compelling new features in the upcoming release, and I for one am looking forward to it.

Keep Groupwise rocking, Novell.
No, Microsoft provides mobile sync for Exchange. Nokia is going to leverage Microsoft's offering and drop their own.
That's a sad commentary. Novell offered a bundled (free) option because that's what customers wanted. Microsoft did the same. How many little guys do you think they stepped on? Forget the little guys - why do you think that Nokia is bowing out of that market?

Novell has to keep Groupwise competitive. If Novell hadn't provided the solution, and Microsoft had, you would be complaining about how Exchange has something built in that Groupwise doesn't, and faulting Novell for that. There's always a balance of what to build into your product versus what you leave for partner offerings. The smart partners build their products to be flexible and to work with multiple back-end systems, and they're able to maintain a place in the market when these changes come around. That's why Notify is still around - they work with over a dozen mail/groupware systems on the back end, and pretty much every end user device on the front end. Even if Intellisync were still viable, there are good reasons to go with Notify in certain situations (say like if you wanted to support Blackberry's and iPhone's without using three different products).

Novell made the right choice at the time. Now it's time to make another choice. Stick around and see what it is.
Hi Alex,

Any news on the GMS 3.0 release, hopefully it will come..?

When might we expect to hear news about the future plans?
I wouldn't characterize that as a big disadvantage. We have a ton of apps that require Windows, and that probably won't change in the foreseeable future. The only real issue with Notify, from my perspective, is its architecture for connecting to Groupwise is a little weak. They use the Groupwise Client API to periodically poll users' accounts for PIM data and they use IMAP to periodically poll the users' inbox for email. They do work as a trusted application, but for grabbing the PIM and mail data, they should probably be moving toward SOAP and event registration.
I may have mentioned this before to the masses, but the ONLY thing that’s keeping Novell alive in my organization of $5 Billion in size, is GroupWise. The only reason that I have not switched GroupWise with anything else is the fact that I can not justify a business reason to do so. An Email is an Email and a Task is a Task, no matter how you slice and dice it. Yet as a CTO, I have to plan my company’s technology for the next 3 to 5 years. Since it has taken the GroupWise team 4 years to come up with something that’s names GW8.0 which should be just a SP4 upgrade, I can not see any reason why I should even keep Novell on my radar scope.

That said I can see many business applications coming down the line requiring “standard” Exchange to work. Most all Unified Communication Applications from Cisco, Nortel, Avaya, etc. all require Exchange. Integration of Microsoft SYNC in most Ford cars and soon to be expanded to many other car makers requires exclusively an Exchange back-end. It reads your Email or Calendar appointments for you while you’re driving, and you can talk back to your calendar and push your meetings back because you’re running late, making the server to notify all attendees of the meeting delay. That’s innovation guys. I guess the guys at Microsoft weren’t sitting around for 4 years, riding the gravy train.

I installed my first NetWare 2.0a in 1986 or around then. My first GroupWise installation was GW4.1, right as Novell bought it from Word Perfect. It makes me angry to go back on a product that I have loved and supported for these many years. But the time is getting close and the product is not improving much.
Why doesn't Novell provide a SyncML gateway to GroupWise? As far as I understand it, SyncML is a sort of open source ActiveSync? Many devices already support SyncML and there are many people making SyncML clients commercially available. Toffa provide a basic email synchronisation product that works over SyncML with GroupWise, why not buy them up and use their code to make a SyncML gateway that talks to GroupWise over SOAP? If you helped extol and contributed to the SyncML standard then maybe SyncML would gain wider adoption? I'm sure mobile device makers would rather make devices that used an open standard instead of (like iPhone) having to licence MS technology.

The third party vendors can still make a buck by selling solutions that have additional capabilities like "remote device wipe".

Whatever Novell does they should really do it FAST. I cannot understand why Novell continues to develop on NetWare and Windows instead of just concentrating on Linux-based solutions. You have a lot of code you need to write to catch up to Microsoft in terms of functionality and whilst you continue to develop on three platforms you will always be diluting your efforts. Ditch those legacy platforms and concentrate on the future.

Microsoft is not an innovator - it is merely a market share holder. What is it about Exchange that you think is innovative? Email is email and a task is a task, so is the difference how well the product works behind the scenes - how cost effective it is? If that's important, Groupwise has a marked edge over Exchange.

The Microsoft Sync technology for Ford cars is mildly interesting, and I imagine you'll see something like that emerging from other auto makers, but whether it's Microsoft Sync or not is yet to be seen. Are you going to get together with your CFO and change out your company's car fleet to Ford for this kind of thing? Probably not. I guess I'm not a fan of Ford anyway, but having too much Microsoft in my vehicle would make me a little nervous. Microsoft is trying to make inroads into pretty much every market, and it doesn't always work out for them. But if you're looking for an audible calendar for your car, maybe you do need Exchange. But as you say, it wouldn't seem to be a real business case, and for companies that care about money (which is probably most), it may not be a real factor. Microsoft is also developing a touch sensitive coffee table that will probably be able to surf the Internet and sync with a Zune, but not an iPod, so it's applications may be limited.

It's certainly true that there are more partners with products that depend on or integrate with Exchange than with Groupwise. I choose products that are based on open standards, and purposefully avoid products that lock me into particular solutions from others. You mention Unified Communications as an example. We use Cisco's voice solution here, and it's true that Unity voicemail is tightly coupled with Exchange, and if you want to integrate it with Groupwise, you need a third party solution, like GW Unify - which, by the way, would still end up saving you money over switching to Exchange for UM. However, Cisco Unity Connection is also available, and you can grab voicemail directly from it using IMAP with Groupwise. Cisco has realized that they can't bet the bank on a Microsoft partnership, so their home grown, non-Microsoft dependent solution is rapidly becoming the preferred solution for many. I don't know about the Avaya and Nortel solutions, but there may be some options there as well. I know Avaya supports Lotus, not just Exchange.

As the CTO of a $5B company, you should have some impact on the product development of your partners. Give them some incentive to work with what you have rather than replacing what you have. Don't buy products that lock you into specific Groupware products, which in turn locks you into specific directories (like the Active kind), which in turn locks you into a specific operating system, and filters all the way down to your desktop productivity suite.
Can you provide any details on the 2 year support, what does it actually mean?
Details can be found in this statement from Nokia (PDF):

These guys work with BES and sync all kinds of CRM's already, so Groupwise support shouldn't be too bad.

Plus, it's all they do, so they won't be shutting it down anytime soon.... 😉

I haven't heard about NotifyLink before, John. Now I'm curious. 🙂

well it's great you've been working on a stratergy in advance, I look forward to hearing more. It is worrying how quickly and without any warning things can change.

There's still the local sync solutions for Palm and Windows Mobile. You still need a desktop you can't get away from that.

Its basically a email client based software that is running on most of the newest phones, being iPhone, Blackberry and Nokia E71
Notifylinks is kind of new for me not heard about it before.


Usman From Alaska Cruises
I have a car with Ford Sync. It's amazing. I can't find a bluetooth kit for my other car that will download address books, let me dial by name or dial by number with no voice activation needed on phones. Works with my palm treo, works with my wife's katana and a host of other phones. That's probably going to be Fords gotta have it equivalent of GM's On Star.
Nokia's announcement was last September.

Now it's May.

Is anything happening, or is GroupWise just being left to die a slow and painful death?

We're getting a lot of pressure to migrate away from Novell and GW, to MS, Exchange and Outlook. Don't spurn the "one more nail in the coffin" comment - it may be prophetic.
I had a long thread in the Novell Community Chat forum about that. The answer is still... yes, eventually. I'd be amazed if it was this year, and quite frankly a 1.0 version of this new product in production is a little scary.
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