IBM is due to present its financials for 4th quarter 2008 results in a few days. In light of the gloomy world economic outlook, it will be very interesting to see how they compare with the 2008 third quarter results which showed revenues from software at US $5.2 billion, with Lotus Software increasing 10 percent year-on-year over 2007.
Readers of iTWire may have noticed that I'm a Lotus Software fan, in fact have been since discovering Lotus Notes in 1993 the year after taking up retirement from IBM. (There was a big exodus of Aussie IBMers at the end of February 1992, when IBM Australia wanted to slim down and offered a voluntary separation package that was quite appealing.)
When I first came across Lotus Notes (a few years before IBM acquired Lotus Development Corp.) I realized at once that it had some very unique and compelling client-server architectural features. So compelling, in fact, that I decided to concentrate my efforts in that field as a "diversion" after several decades having worked with host-centric IBM mainframe and midrange systems.
Here's a brief history of Notes and Domino if you're not familiar with it. Originally there were Lotus Notes clients that connected with Lotus Notes servers.
But in the mid 1990s (at the time of Release 4.5) when Internet capabilities were added to the server component this was thought to be so significant that the server was rebranded as Lotus Domino. Remember, this was the era when Bill Gates and Microsoft had just come out with Windows 95 and Internet Explorer, after realizing that the Internet as the "next big thing."
For the record, I should disclose that I'm still active in among other things the Lotus Notes collaboration and groupware arena (see here for example).
Let me start with some background, so that you may understand the Lotus terminology used and get better value from this interview with IBM's Jonathan Stern, IBM ANZ Executive for Lotus Software.
But these days Lotus Software is about much more than Lotus Notes and Domino. Lotus now offer a number of other increasingly popular collaboration and social software products, including:
- - IBM Lotus Quickr -- easily set up browser-based team collaboration software for sharing content and collaborating with your teams, inside or outside your organization.
- - IBM Lotus iNotes -- Web-based e-mail software and collaboration applications (quite independent of Lotus Notes and Domino)
- - IBM Lotus Connections -- social software for enterprises
- - IBM Lotus Sametime -- integrated presence awareness, instant messaging (IM), e-mail, telephony
- - IBM Lotus Sametime Unyte -- Web conferencing client and services
- - IBM Lotus Symphony -- a free office suite for document, spreadsheet and presentation creation.
Based on OpenOffice, but with various functional and usability enhancements added by IBM, Lotus Symphony has been heavily downloaded and has garnered very favourable reviews. For example, CRN named it their 2008 Product of the Year for Desktop Applications. See also IBM's Lotus Symphony proves it has what it takes to compete in the dog-eat-dog world of productivity application software.
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