eWeek coverage of the launch...

"The groundwork for Notes for the next 10 to 15 years is to move beyond the client server to this completely open applications client," said Ed Brill, Lotus Notes strategy executive for IBM's Software Group. "If we didn't move in the direction of openness, you could see an increasingly niche role for a dedicated or proprietary client talking to one server."

Brill said basing Notes and Domino 8 on Eclipse will enable IBM to compete with Microsoft, which has taken great pains in the last few years to bolster its SharePoint and Office collaboration tools.
quotes from Burton's Karen Hobert, too:
"The fundamentals that the Notes rich client have offered in the past still differentiate Notes from Microsoft solutions, most specifically that users can take content and applications off-line, it provides fine grained security controls both locally and on the server, and offers an application model for building collaborative applications," Hobert said.
Link: eWeek: IBM Bases New Lotus Notes, Domino 8 on Eclipse >

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