Well, looks like the man who wrote the “Decline and Fall of Lotus” in 1998 is the same guy who wrote today’s Forbes piece. Gotta love when one guy gets something in his head. To refresh your memory, Daniel Lyon’s wrote about how MS was going to destroy Lotus, and that IBM’s acquisition of Notes was a bust. Here are some highlights:
For years Lotus scoffed that Exchange, originally simply an E-mail program, couldn’t do collaboration. But now Exchange is catching up.
GartnerGroup estimates Exchange has about 75% of the features found in Notes and will have the rest in a year or two.
Hmmm… Seven years and countless failed Microsoft products later and Exchange still has what I would say is far LESS than 75% of the features of Notes if you compare an out of the box install of both products.
Of the 50 biggest companies in the U.S., 30 have chosen Exchange as their companywide E-mail program
This was the initial quote in the first iteration of the story. So many of those companies bitched at Forbes for mis-representing their facts that they added the following in the re-write:
(although some of them may also make significant use of Notes)
Here’s another gem:
Lotus was slow to recognize the importance of the Internet. Its Domino server — the “back end” of Notes — accommodates Web connections but is more expensive and complicated than rival products.
Really? More expensive AND complicated huh? With one server I can do collaboration, I can do email, I can write custom apps, I can do it on Windows, UNIX, Linux and AS400, everything integrates via web STANDARDS, not proprietary systems, and soon we have built-in web services support and ability to utilize a relational back-end. Sure seems that IBM has done a VERY good job in this regard. Hmmm… performance gains coming in Notes/Domino 7 in the 50% to 300% range, on the SAME hardware. Seems like Notes keeps getting cheaper, not more expensive. Kinda flies in the face of this:
So what did IBM get in the end for its $3.2 billion? On the E-mail front, Exchange is cheaper to run and more reliable. On the collaboration front, there are Web-based applications that do much of what Notes does but cost less.
Cheaper and more reliable? Exchange? Are you kidding? Even THEN it wasn’t the case. Head to head it MAY be cheaper at a license level, but if you’ve ever had to rebuild an Exchange object store, you would be hard pressed to think it’s more reliable. Anyway, there were great rebuttals out there at the time, and especially this one from ePro (formerly Group Computing). And I do know something about this as I’ve administered Exchange 5.5, Exchange 2000 and every version of Notes since 4.X. Exchange does crash more, Exchange is also harder to administer, especially when Active Directory becomes a part of the equation.
Anyway, here’s the old story in it’s initial version, and the updated version. It was controversial enough back then to warrant this letter from Forbes. Read it all and see for yourself if either article holds water for you.