I take it back, Lotus IS Dead

Okay, okay I know. That was an attention seeking headline, but after the Lotus – Not Dead Yet post of a couple weeks ago, I figured I needed to eat some words a bit. That said, truth be told, ‘Lotus’ IS fading.

Not the software mind you, that’s as strong or stronger than it’s ever been, it’s the branding that seems to be changing. Lotusphere saw little mention of the word Lotus, and almost no glimpses of the Lotus logo anywhere. This was obviously by design. Ed Brill has a great post on it, as does Alan Lepofsky.

You see, Alistair Rennie spoke on stage about how this was going to be the most significant Lotusphere yet. We didn’t really see any new products, or radically new agendas, so what exactly did he mean? Well to me, I think it was the simply the shift of IBM’s full support of the Lotus portfolio and the value it brings for Social Business. Like Ed pointed out, you saw people on stage from IBM that had NEVER participated in the past, and to the public’s eyes at least, never threw it’s support behind the Lotus portfolio.

Now, all of IBM gets that Social Business is indeed the next wave, and I believe that IBM looked at that and said. ‘Hell, we HAVE the best social business portfolio with Lotus, let’s leverage that, and do it now!’ I really don’t think I’m off base here. I think IBM truly now believes in these tools, and the best way to sell these tools is to sell them as IBM-branded products.

As much as I LOVE Lotus, and always have, the word ‘Lotus‘ is sometimes met with disdain and words and phrases like ‘legacy’ or ‘outdated’ or my favorite ‘are people still using that?’ How about IBM? People KNOW IBM, they know Smarter Planet, and will know Watson soon. So even though I’ll miss the moniker of Lotus, I fully understand if we start seeing all the branding go to IBM. And quite frankly, I’m okay with it.

IBM Notes and Domino, IBM Connections, IBM Quickr, IBM Sametime. Looking at that actually looks right to me, and quite frankly strengthens the ability of the company to truly market the products going forward.

Last year I was really excited about Lotus Knows. But I’ll be equally excited by IBM Knows, or ‘Social Business for a Smarter Planet. IBM Notes.’ Now wouldn’t THAT be cool? So who knows if they’ll keep calling it Lotusphere, or it will become SocialSphere or SmarterPlanetWorld or whatever. The event will still be awesome by any name, and now we may finally see the kind of push from IBM we’ve always dreamed about. We’ll see if that comes to fruition, but I, for one, am really excited about the possibility.

So congratulations to Forbes and the Radicati group, looks like those decade-old headlines may now become ‘technically’ right. Too bad for those prognosticators that the software is stronger than ever, it just has a new name.

Lotus is dead. Long Live Lotus!