Microsoft is looking to persuade five million Lotus Notes customers to make the switch to Microsoft's collaboration tools next year, according to Kevin Turner, COO for the software giant.

"Let's talk about replacing Lotus Notes," said Turner during his presentation at Microsoft's annual meeting for financial analysts.

"This past year we sold in 4.86 million seats of our collaboration solution - SharePoint, Exchange and Office - into IBM Lotus Notes accounts," Turner went on about Microsoft's success in the historical messaging and collaboration battle it has fought with IBM and Lotus.

"If you take the last two years, we have sold in eight million seats. This next year I have a goal for the [sales] field that is more than five million seats," he said.

Turner then lauded SharePoint, which, he claimed, by integrating with the overall Microsoft messaging and collaboration environment was creating a real threat to IBM/Lotus, which is building its own unified communications platform. That platform includes a counter punch from IBM called Quickr Content Integrator, which provides wizards and templates for moving content in mass to Quickr from SharePoint sites.

"SharePoint is the hottest single product in the history of Microsoft, the fastest to a billion dollars, it gives us a very good arsenal as it relates to competing in the commercial business. We are going to keep pushing and driving," said Turner.

For its part, IBM/Lotus said one third of its new customers for its Sametime platform, the hub for its unified communications environment, were Microsoft Exchange shops that did not have Notes installed.