Friday, February 12, 2010

Why does the Microsoft Pot call the Lotus Kettle 'Black'?

The ZDNet Q&A with Alistair Rennie was good, but an interesting marketing point was buried in the interviewer's summary:
"For many of us, Lotus is viewed as an older brand that was popular in the 1990s. For the foreseeable future, you’ll see enterprises with Microsoft Office as well as various alternatives. IBM’s task is to make sure Lotus is always in the conversation as the Google Apps and Docs and Microsoft scrum intensifies."
I know the Redmond Mafia has done an enormous amount of work over the years to paint Lotus Notes as a 'legacy' product, and a lot of the Microsoft Mud has stuck. But if Notes (first released in 1989) is legacy software then what about...
  • Microsoft Word first released in 1983 – six years before Notes
  • Microsoft Windows and Excel first released in 1985 – four years before Notes
  • Unix was created in 1969 – twenty years before Notes
  • Microsoft Exchange 4.0 released in 1996 – fourteen years ago (I well remember the Microsoft verbal gymnastics of that era regarding the 'completely new' Exchange product which somehow was entitled to inherit its version number from the recently superseded Microsoft Mail 3...)

I'm not suggesting that IBM/Lotus get into 'tit-for-tat' negative marketing, but surely Microsoft's own product history allows IBM/Lotus an ethical and accurate advertising counterpunch to show that Longevity is not equivalent to Legacy.


Henning said...

IBM themselves has done an enormous amount of work over the years to paint Lotus Notes as a 'legacy' product. And while Workplace did not work we now have two versions of QuickR, several versions of Sametime, no more Domino.Doc and a died Workflow product. For a long time IBM has not build anything new on the Notes and Domino platform if I leave out Atlantic (the SAP cooperation) and one of the two Notes clients is not called legacy but basic client.
I don't want to argue if this is good or bad but blaming Microsoft for Notes being in the legacy category does not cut it for me.

Graham Dodge said...

Have you read anything from Julia White recently? Julia is Director of Exchange product management for Microsoft and here are her words from Microsoft's Q4 Earnings call... (my bolding)
"... we shared the latest results of our efforts to free customers from the costs and antiquated architecture of Lotus Notes and Domino."

I find this kind of mindless drivel absolutely nauseating. Sure, talk about your wins and revenue - that's what an earnings call is all about. But to throw in petty and unsupported sniping attacks like "antiquated architecture" shows both your own emotional insecurity ("gotta remind myself that I think I'm winning") and your contempt for your audience ("if I say it often enough then they'll believe me").

IBM made a strategic mistake with Workplace. They've acknowledged it and have moved on and are now right behind the Notes/Domino platform. Can you can show me anywhere that IBM uses the words 'legacy' or 'antiquated' to describe Notes?

Henning said...

Yes I have a few but those are older than 5 years so they would not represent what IBM is currently saying. If Notes does not have an antiquated architecture then I do not know what a 16 Bit database architecture is.

15KB per text field that display in views, 64KB per text field that cannot be displayed in views.
If you have ever looked in a Domino directory with 100.000 users and see what 15KB limitations mean to group name resolutions you know what I mean.

You can build awesome applications with Notes, there still is a lot of talent out there and the server is very robust and solid. But there are many parts where IBM still refuses to bring Notes and Domino into the 21st century.
And don't get me started about Notes Rich Text (Geniisoft Midas to the rescue please).

But although I consider Notes and Domino legacy technology I work with it every day, I deploy new applications every week and I still know of a few companies that have no plans to replace it in the foreseeable future.