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Notes/Domino 8 Ships Amidst Growing Economic Uncertainty

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Notes8Available.gifEd Brill and countless others in the Domino Blogosphere and the wider technology press will have plenty to say about the news today that IBM/Lotus is shipping Notes/Domino 8.  The product improvements certainly hold a great deal of promise in terms of reversing many of the negative perceptions that have built up in recent years.  But aside from that, I have to wonder if there isn't another, external force that will contribute just as much to a resurgence of Lotus in the marketplace.

Much has been made lately of the relative value of Lotus Notes/Domino vs. Microsoft Outlook/Exchange/.NET/Sharepoint/SQL/VB/etc.  The basic point that I and others have made is that trying to do with Microsoft products what Notes/Domino does all by itself requires significantly more people, more products, and more time, and thus more money, all while locking you into the Windows Server OS.  Notes 8 takes this a significant step further by directly challenging Microsoft's two heretofore unassailable advantages: The Windows Desktop OS and MS Office Suite.  By any objective measure, this is a value proposition that cannot help but make any budget-concious organization sit up and take notice.

Which brings me to another big news story of the last few weeks: the apparent collapse of America's high-flying mortgage lending market, and the worldwide economic impact that is playing out even now:

Thu Aug 16, 3:51 PM ET
BOSTON (Reuters) - With stock markets falling, the U.S. housing market in a tailspin and credit tightening, corporate America is bracing for impact.

Top U.S. executives are watching the spread of the economic contagion that started with a slump in U.S. home prices and spread through the financial sector as default rates on risky subprime mortgages rose, spooking investors the world over...


If we accept that many of the decisions made by organizations to switch from Notes/Domino to Outlook/Exchange/.NET/Sharepoint in recent years were based more on emotion than on technical or financial merit (and I do), the next question is how did all those extra costs not raise more red flags on the balance sheet?  Well, my theory is that as financially foolish decisions like this become increasingly hard to justify amidst the overall economic belt-tightening, we'll start to see a lot less of them.  From that standpoint, Notes 8 couldn't have come at a better time.  Even if the downturn suppresses overall worldwide IT spending for awhile, it seems likely that Lotus will be getting a bigger share of what's left.

Get ready for a bumpy ride.

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