One question I got a few times last week after the IBM earnings announcement was the "seats" question...that is, how many Notes users are there?  In the follow-up article in eWeek, Bob Picciano indicates that IBM has cumulatively sold 140 million Lotus Notes licenses.

The precise question though is, how many active Lotus Notes users are there today?  It's hard to say, because IBM doesn't require that customers buy software maintenance to keep a Notes or DWA license active.  We do know how many users are paying IBM for maintenance, though.  Unfortunately, that is one of those numbers that IBM chooses not to publish.

Thus, the best answer I can give to the questions asked on the blog last week and offline is, the number of active Notes customers paying IBM for maintenance of Notes/DWA users is up about 10% year to year between 2007 and 2008.  I've heard that Microsoft tells people the opposite is true, to the tune of a much bigger drop year to year.  I am not sure how such an assertion, from an outside organization without access to the real data, would ever stand up ethically.  For sure, it is impossible to reconcile the year-to-year revenue growth for Notes/Domino in 13 of the last 14 quarters, including double-digit growth during Q1 2008, with any thought that the number of users actively paying for Notes has somehow dropped.

We've picked up some rather nice wins in the Notes business during 2008 so far, including two "greenfield" Notes deployments that will become amongst the largest Notes customers anywhere, some great merger/acquisition/consolidation wins, and a lot of business as usual.  Q2 is looking even better with the addition of the new Lotus Protector product family and beta of Notes/Domino 8.5 on the horizon.

Post a Comment