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IBM drops Lotus brand from next version of Notes

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Update Lotus Notes is no more and will henceforth be known as ... drumroll please … IBM Notes.

Big Blue quietly let it be known the Lotus brand will disappear in the forthcoming version 9.0 of Notes and Domino, products that back in 1995 were so desirable it wrote a check for $US.3.52bn to acquire them.

That acquisition was literally a hold the front page event for your correspondent*, as a price tag of $US.3.52bn was all-but-unheard-of in those far-off days, when Notes was the clear leader in a product category known as “groupware”.

Notes' combination of messaging and a lightweight, database-driven, application development environment made it a very tasty prospect for enterprises living the client/server dream of the mid 1990s. Users often weren't so enthralled: Notes' whopping client strained the first-generation Pentium-powered PCs of the day. But then so did almost any app.

IBM's later versions of Notes and Domino nonetheless succeeded admirably, eventually spawning Big Blue's range of collaboration software. But of late Notes has been a target, with Microsoft promoting Notes-to-Exchange migrations for both messaging and applications.

And of course the Notes vision lived on, as the application's developer, Ray Ozzie, was eventually appointed Bill Gates's sucessor as Microsoft's Chief Software architect.

IBM's revelation of the brand's demise emerged in this blog post by Ed Brill, IBM's director for social business and collaboration solutions.

Brill's post says the timing for the change of name was picked to co-incide with the announcement of betas for Notes 9.0. as “A version number increment is designed to do several things: create buzz in the market, including awareness from the industry press and analysts who might not pay attention to a 'mod' point release; convey vendor confidence in the product and its value; indicate longevity of the product; and signal the delta in new features and capabilities.”

Brill says the intent to demonstrate confidence “is why this beta is also the point where Notes/Domino will join other IBM software solutions in sporting only the IBM brand,” which he then points out is apparently --the second-most valuable brand in the world.

The Register has asked IBM if the Lotus brand will disappear entirely and is yet to receive a response, but a quick fossick around Big Blue's website reveals the company still maintains a web page dedicated to Lotus software, but sublimates the name 'Lotusphere' in promotion for the 'IBM Connect' event it will run in 2013.

Update

IBM today (November 21st) let us know that the Lotus brand will survive.

A statement emitted by a nameless entity said "The updated branding of Notes and Domino is a continuation of our overall branding strategy across IBM to have IBM branded capabilities. IBM still has Lotus branded solutions in market today with no announced re-branding, including Lotus Expeditor, Lotus Symphony, and Lotus Quickr.” ®

* Who then worked for PC Week Australia, which had a front page to hold.

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