IBM pledge: Not only does Notes/Domino live, there’s no end in sight

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Having begun my time here covering the late 1990s email/collaboration battles between Lotus Notes/Domino, Microsoft Outlook/Exchange, and, yes, Novell GroupWise, it’s interesting to see IBM, which bought Lotus in 1995, pledging to support Domino and Notes for, well, an open-ended long period of time.

Not surprising, though.    

In a blog post published yesterday, Ed Brill, vice president of product management and design for IBM Collaboration Solutions, laid out the company’s current thinking:

“Notes/Domino 9.0 shipped in 2013, and IBM’s normal five-year support model meant that mainstream support could have ended in 2018. However, we know how important these products are to your business, and we are continuing to invest in new functionality. For IBM Notes/Domino 9.0, we have announced that product support will be extended through at least 2021, and extended support through at least 2024. There is no end of life planned for Notes and Domino, and we will continue to update the timeline for support as appropriate based on future releases and market requirements.”

While the specific dates here may be new, the commitment to Notes/Domino is anything but. In fact, way back in 2006, Brill blogged at me in response to my decision to include Notes on a list of “10 IT brand names that just won’t die.” He seemed to be suggesting that I thought it should. I wasn’t.

In 2004, I asked the father of Lotus Notes, Ray Ozzie, whether he believed IBM might kill off his baby as an independent product any time soon.

“IBM has a history of never forcing its customers through tremendous changes; there are S/360s out there that are still cranking along, and I'm sure you'd find a few PROFS systems that are still out there,” Ozzie replied. “So I don't see that they would do something so reckless as to stop something. I just don't think that's in the cards.”

(That was an illuminating Q&A with Ozzie, if you have the time.)

And Big Blue had reinforced its faith in Notes/Domino as recently as last year’s IBM Connect.

Call me convinced.

If you’d like to read more about the upcoming enhancements and plans for the products, Brill’s post from yesterday gets into some and IBM software architect Martin Donnelly takes an even deeper dive here.

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