IBM In Denial Over Lotus Notes — Is the end near for this tired and miserable product that NOBODY likes?

NEW YORK – The marketing folks in IBM’s Lotus division are starting to sound like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, who insists he’s winning a fight even as he loses both arms and legs: “‘Tis but a scratch,” the Black Knight declares after one arm is lopped off. “Just a flesh wound,” he says after losing the other. “I’m invincible!”

The same goes for IBM’s (nyse: IBM – news – people ) Lotus, which keeps declaring victory even as Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFT – news – people ) carves it up.

First Microsoft consumed Lotus’s 1-2-3 spreadsheet business. Lotus spinmeisters insisted Microsoft wasn’t really winning because Lotus 1-2-3 still had a larger installed base. Eventually that wasn’t true either.

Now Microsoft’s Exchange has clawed its way to the top of the corporate e-mail market, displacing Notes/Domino, which once dominated e-mail and was the main reason IBM paid $3.2 billion to acquire Lotus in 1995.

via C. Levy



  1. Tytus Suski says:

    Lotus Notes suck.

    Long time Lotus Notes user at IBM and other companies.

  2. T.C. Moore says:

    I always thought the Notes achitecture was very cool. General free-form databases that were stored as one file, could be easily replicated and synchronized across servers, and could have custom applications built upon them, like the Domino Web server add-on that became the raison d’etre for the product. Outside of e-mail, it sold well to law firms, because you could dump free-form legal documents in there, have indexed search, and easily distribute the databases to your lawyer’s laptops.

    The problem is that synchronizing a Notes database containing thousands of e-mails that users never cleaned up, over a 56K line, took an insanely long time. It used a generalized synchronization algorithm, instead of one optimized for e-mail (i.e. mostly one-way). With MS Exchange’s becoming the default standard and constantly improving performance, it eventually took over.

    AFAIK, IBM never significantly improved the Notes architecture, performance, or kept up with the latest expectations in e-mail clients.
    Trying to tackle web serving, e-mail, and indexed search in one product, while staying on the cutting edge, is now impossible.

    ——
    Short time Lotus Notes user at IBM (at least it was better than VM (mainframe) mail!)

  3. A.J. says:

    The old Interface Hall of Shame had an excellent page deriding the insane design of Notes 4.6; you can scare up a cached version via Google.

    As part of my job, I send HTML messages to clients. Notes 5 is simply unable to properly render HTML, so for those poor folks who are stuck with using it, I have to send them plain text. (Please direct arguments over the morality of sending HTML mail to /dev/null, please. I know all about it.)

    Why don’t companies who’re using Notes just scrap the stupid thing and switch to Thunderbird? (Or PC-Pine? That’s what I use, and you can’t beat the speed!)


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