Thought for the day: ’If Microsoft had bought Lotus...’

Mat Newman  August 21 2010 10:15:38
Just some random musing, If Microsoft had bought Lotus:

Exchange 2000 would have been Domino, already integrated into Active Directory.
Outlook would have been dumped, the Notes UI modified and called "Microsoft Collaborator".
Microsoft Collaborator would now be on over 80% of desktops (that's MS's % seat claims + IBM's).
Microsoft would have saved themselves $ billions in development of Exchange public libraries, Outlook forms, OneNote, c#, j++, .asp, .net, sharepoint, etc...
Microsoft Collaborator would have had a button (just like MS Project and MS Access) to "Analyse with Excel",
Microsoft Access would have been dumped, and users given wizards in Collaborator to create databases.

Exchange admins in 2010 would have only been through 1 data migration (back in 2000 when Exchange became Domino based), rather than 4.

Microsoft Collaborator users would:
need less training, because every option on every screen would have a "wizard" to walk users through how to change things like the fonts and colours on every window,
be able to do direct entry into their calendar, and customise the colours and icons for every entry,
be able to Ctrl+Tab through all the open windows, just like every other application,

Millions of students at high-schools and universities would be learning to build applications on the Exchange framework (because it would be Domino).

And now the reality...

Microsoft would most likely have provided an outstanding migration tool to move Domino users over to Exchange, reaping themselves billions in revenues from all of the Windows licences they would have sold by getting Domino off AS400, AIX, HPUX, etc

The improvements in scalability, reliability, speed, extensibility, etc that IBM brought to .nsf and Domino would never have happened.

Would-have-been-Domino Admins would be tearing their hair out due to the increase in servers that they had to maintain, not to mention the massive data migration efforts required every couple of years.

Developers would be confused about which Microsoft development strategy and platform to follow today.

So the result...

I'm glad that IBM bought Lotus.  We in the Yellowverse just have to come to grips with the fact that IBM have a product called Websphere and a strategy based on java, with a thorn in it's side that it also has Notes.

Our role is to work with IBM to make sure that the thorn gets pushed harder until it really hurts and stings and everyone within IBM feels it.  When all of IBM "get's" Notes/Domino and finds a place in it's heart for the product, then big blue might realise it can have it's yellow-cake, and eat it too.


1Wayne  08/21/2010 11:48:37  
Thought for the day: ’If Microsoft had bought Lotus...’

I'm glad you mentioned 'Access', because that is one area where Lotus could let the notes client really grow. There is a huge market in Access Applications, and MS makes sure that the upgrade path is to SQL server. Given the challenges in moving from the Access DB to SQL server, I'm sure an analysis tools could read an Access app and transport it to a Notes/Domino App.

2Carl Tyler  08/22/2010 3:44:14  
Thought for the day: ’If Microsoft had bought Lotus...’

@1 The problem with Access and many other database migrations to Domino, is they are relational joins, and there tends to be lots of them. Sure you can build Domino apps that do this, but you don't really want to. Use the right tool for the right job, Access to person DB2 makes more sense, with a Lotus Approach front end.

3Mat Newman

08/23/2010 10:31:32  There might be some reasons for keeping Access, but more often than not it’s just the only available tool for the user...

@1: Wayne - Agree. Most Access databases I have seen created by users could be built in Notes with just a couple of forms and views. If users were given a "corporate framework" template with the look and feel already built I have no doubt that many users who currently create complex forms even in Word or Excel - let alone Access - would be capable of building a simple Notes app. see comments @2...

@2: Carl - I recently spent a couple of weeks reconstructing a 'complex' Access ap in Notes, once the over 200 tables were de-normalised I was able to get the database down to a dozen views and a few forms. 72 of the tables in the Access DB were purely there to provide "keyword" look-ups, which were replaced with a single keyword view. The problem wasn't reconstructing the relationships, it was running agents to combine data sets that weren't really relational, they were simply stored in a different table for what ever reason the designer thought was 'logical'. That's the real issue with Access, trying to work out why someone used relational tables when it wasn't really necessary to do so. For the real relational stuff, linked documents - either with or without response hierarchies - and embedded views do exactly the same thing as many 'relational' records. Of course, then you have the scalability issues with Access. Once we sucked in the Access data, I also needed to import about 600mb of linked excel spreadsheets. The result was a Notes ap with a couple of hundred thousand records, and just 200mb in total size, compared with the 100mb Access Database and the 600mb of linked excel sheets. Smaller, faster, more scalable, visible through the web and transportable through replication - THAT'S why you move an Access ap to Notes!

I wrote about this recently, users will build aps in whatever tool they have available, and if they're given Access, or worse - just Word and Excel - they will build an ap in the tools that they have available to them. Poor users often aren't even aware that they could build something much better in Notes if they only had a designer client available.

Oh, and I love the 'Lotus Approach' comment @2 Carl. I now have Smartsuite installed under Wine and running Approach quite happily. Remember 'Notes Reporter', which was just a rebadged Lotus Approach :-)

Mat Newman IBM Champion

Mat Newman

THE Notes (formerly IBM/Lotus Notes) Guy. Productivity Guru. Evangelist. IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions, 2011/2012/2013. Former IBMer. HCLite. Views are my own.

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