Thursday, April 24, 2008

Long Live Lotus Workplace

Yes I said it and I stick to it.
Although not the way most people are thinking.

I was so happy to see it come out, finally an effort was being made to rebrand Lotsu Notes in some way, any way. How bad could it be? right? OK, so the technical side may have had some issues.

But finally someone in Marketing or Sales or Product Management at IBM or Lotus or Iris came up with the idea to rebrand Lotus Notes. If this was Mike Rhodin or not I can't say but hopefully this was the intent, although it seemed to everyone the Websphere people had a heavy hand on it.

You see, how many other products exist in the technology market place for nearly 20 years with the same moniker/name? Not many.

Microsoft is excellent at this gamne. IBM has not always been so good at it. Websphere was an excellent idea for a brand name for a half dozen products to be together and work, with some customization. Rebranding Lotus Notes or Sametime or Quickplace the IBM Communication suite or whatever thoughts really was not so helpful.

Microsoft reinvents it's own every few years or 2-3 versions. Looiing at tyhe client side alone:
Ms Mail? gone.
Jet mail? Who? Gone(check your Outlook and Exchange files and the updates to it's engine in EVERY version since MS Mail).
Exchange Mail 4,5,5.5 gone.
Outlook Express....gone but still in existence.
Outlook 2003 must still exist because few went to office 2007 or outlook 2007 without upgrading their whole infrastructure to Windows 2008 first and 64 bit too. W
Outlook 2007 may be the last time you hear about it.

Next up MS Live, Live Mail or whatever MS will call it. But I am fairly sure it will not be Outlook in name(although will be under the covers just as Jet and Msmail and exchange mail still run pieces of the Outlook client code.

The bottom line is if we want Lotus Notes and Domino to find a new base in a new era within a time frame web 2.0+ we must rebrand it and give up the name we so love and cherish.

Alan Lepofsky's recent post touches on this and it would be interesting to see where this goes.


  1. Yes but...

    MS is simply not just about rebranding its about promotion

    IBM just does not get that

  2. Good lord...

    Steve Mills came up with workplace...and talked all about it in an interview with ZDNet in March 2002. It was never intended to rebrand Notes...rather, it was intended to replace Mills's comments (,14179,2852062-5,00.html)

    What's remarkable is how consistent IBM's delivery on Mills's vision has been...

    Exchange Mail 4, 5, 5.5...what's your point? Notes 3, 4, 4.6, 5, 6, 7...version numbers change...that doesn't represent abandonment. Ed loves to point out (which is one of the few true things he says) that you can run a release 1.0 app in R8...a lot of the same code under the covers, no matter what they call it. Good! It's not a bad thing that code is consistent release to release to preserve backward compatibility.

    Few have gone to Outlook 2007? Really? Based on what data, exactly? Because I keep reading it's being widely adopted...

    Microsoft keeps reinventing itself? Let's see...when I worked at Lotus, Notes was Groupware...then collaborative software...then knowledge management (remember Discovery Server, which IBM killed?), then "NextGen" aka Workplace, which was really WebSphere, with none of the richness or engineering of Notes, now it's all about social software. Who's reinventing? is IBM about promotion...neither IBM nor Microsoft is a registered charity...both are in business to promote their products and make that's a kinda silly comment...

  3. Ian, you are correct although I see branding and promotion going hand in hand, something IBM does not always get right unfortunately.

  4. MS Guy,
    I never said they should redesign it and not make it backward compatible, just rebrand it.
    Saying it is a mail system, a directory server, a collaboration suite is all just extra wording on a page and "IBM" branding not true rebranding.
    Truly renaming it and rebranding it would be useful.
    As one reference of an outside person who should know what he is talking about, see this article which discusses moving to outlook 2007.

    Don't get me wrong, is everyone on R8 of Notes? No. Do I have clients using R4, 5,6,7? Yes, that's my business and I have been upgrading all of them in the last 4 months to R8 1 server at a time every day or 2.

    I don't want reinvention just a new chance of life for the next generation.
    Where is MS Mail 10? Exchange Mail 8? These were discontinued and a "newer,better" version was coming, always.
    I'd like to see Lotus try this sometime.