March 7 2008
I am going to try to blog on this topic and don't really know what I'll get as a result. But hey.
Apple had a great event yesterday announcing their new version of the iPhone software, the SDK, and what is clearly more of an enterprise focus. Only one problem from the perspective of readers of this blog, and that would be the front-and-center role of Microsoft Exchange and the built-in ActiveSync support.
The first article I read covering the event was from Barron's, who said:
Some things not announced: Lotus Notes support.Then I read comments here, in my mail, and on other blogs.
To say that I was surprised with this outcome is a bit of an understatement. I knew that a Lotus Vice President was in Cupertino, with a second Lotus Vice President heading down there straight from the Lotusphere Comes to You event. in San Francisco. I did not (and still at this moment don't) know exactly what kind of pronouncement IBM Lotus might have made in relation to the iPhone SDK. However, I did expect there to be something said, conveyed, or communicated....nope. Nothing.
Without any insider information, and looking at this from Apple's viewpoint, I can see why they would not have chosen to say anything about IBM and plans around Notes + iPhone. Apple paid or otherwise procured the ActiveSync protocol license from Microsoft, which was already pretty well-known in the market. Given their choice to include that in the base iPhone software, it's an obvious choice for them to market that as part of the announcement. And I can even see logic in politics that, if you are highlighting one major company in a market segment, highlighting their main competitor simultaneously, one with a different approach, would diminish the announcement. That is simply not the way the game is played, and while it is easy to second-guess, I certainly would not have expected something different knowing what I know now.
In reacting, a lot of non-marketing people had fairly biting comments for Lotus... in my inbox, on this blog, on other blogs. Let me first validate -- yes, this was a missed opportunity. No, I do not know why. The way things work with Apple, you go with the program, and you don't put out your own press release. We saw what happened when the iPhone support from Domino Web Access story leaked before Lotusphere, where the guessing games had all sorts of theories as to what was being announced.
So did I want to be able to get to my computer tonight and link to some great news coverage about something related to Lotus Notes support and iPhones? Absolutely. Did it happen today? No. Will it happen? Yes. Will it be big news when it does? I hope so. Anything with iPhone these days is big news, and since we know the press are already looking for something in terms of Notes+iPhone, it should be pretty easy to get attention when something along those lines gets delivered.
I'm sorry with those who are temporarily disappointed to not have specific news, plans, and timetables. This is a hot space and Lotus wants to be part of it. But there are already great partnerships with vendors like RIM, who have been a joy to work with over the last few months as I spend more time interacting with them. Lotus Notes Traveler is shipping, and there are five other partners in the space. The story you want will, I believe, come in time... just not on the big stage in Cupertino. Disappointed? Sure. But that's "life in the big city", and something positive will come of it.