In my presentation earlier this week at SNUG, the Dutch user group for IBM Websphere & Lotus Software, I used a slide I've been using most of the year to describe Microsoft's track record in collaboration.  Some of you have seen this...





Image:Death as track record vs. suggestion




I use it to make a simple point.  When considering a company's future direction for collaboration software, one must carefully examine the past.
In the case of Microsoft, that track record has been inconsistent at best.  (In fact, the slide needs updating to include the spectacular flare-out of Exchange "Kodiak")  It is hard to know whether this week's set of collaboration technologies (comprised of fourteen different products in the "smart connected organization") is going to be around for the long term.  Thus, I think it's completely reasonable to examine the current and future products and plans in the context of the past track record.
In the case of IBM Lotus, the track record, though not perfect, is very solid.  Fifteen years of Notes/Domino -- near perfect forward and backward compatibility and additive evolution.  Releases delivered relatively on-time, and with promised capabilities.  Announced plans for Notes/Domino 7, 7.x, 8, and public commitment to releases beyond that.  Steady updates and enhancements to team collaboration, instant messaging, document management products.
As has often been the case this year, the SNUG audience had a very strong reaction to the "graveyard" slide.  Marnix Kemme, SNUG chairman, wrote yesterday: "The evaluations on your presentation were very very positive!  Would you be so kind to send me a copy of your presentation (freelance graphics, powerpoint or pdf are all OK)? I've heard a couple of people mention the graveyard slide in particular ..."
Well, one person in particular seems interested, though I don't think he was at SNUG.  Microsoft employee Peter de Haas seems quite excited that I've given Microsoft Netherlands' upcoming seminar some visibility.  Why wouldn't I -- it's useful to everyone to know what Microsoft's approach is to marketing to Lotus customers, especially when it flops between the "migrate away from Notes" view and the "we love Notes and want to integrate with it" view (see GaryDev's new comment at the end of that thread).  In this particular case, though, I think it is funny that Peter is complaining about honesty (see comments in thread on his blog).  In the "graveyard" slide, I am merely stating the public track record of Microsoft's current and past efforts in collaboration.  Microsoft Netherlands' event invitation seems to say that Notes is going to be substantially different in the future...based on what track record?  (I hear that the original version was more blatantly inaccurate)
So where does honesty cause problems, Peter -- when the truth is described visually for impact, or when it is left out of the discussion altogether?

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