This has happened too many times to be coincidental.  In the last few weeks, I have heard more than once from a customer that they are "tactically" planning to upgrade from Notes 6.5 to Notes 7 on the desktop, because they aren't ready to move to Notes 8 or don't have the desktop hardware for Notes 8.  In a few cases -- in the US, UK, Canada, and elsewhere -- we've had customers admit to us that they are doing so based on a Microsoft recommendation, while they evaluate whether they are going to continue with Notes or move to the MS platform.

Microsoft seems to be making yet another push to go after Lotus customers -- the red bull is back, I guess -- out of sheer fear that if a customer sees how good Notes 8 is, they won't ever get another shot to convince them that spending hundreds of dollars/euros/pounds/whatever per user to trade a collaboration and office productivity client for an e-mail client makes good business sense.  Thus, the suggestion that the customer move to Notes 7 -- stay supported (though watch for the official announcement around 6.5 end of support extension next week) but not have to bite off on the requirements and testing for Notes 8.  Meanwhile, users still see an older Notes interface and complain that Notes sucks.

Clever strategy, but it overlooks one other option, one which I explored with a customer over lunch the other day.  Customers can upgrade today from Notes 6.5 to Notes 8, and simply run the basic configuration of Notes 8 on those machines that can't support the standard configuration...or run basic until they are ready with training or testing to flip the switch to standard configuration.  And, as I blogged last week, there's now both a command line switch as well as an .INI parameter -- one that can be pushed down through policies -- that will toggle a desktop installation between basic and standard configuration.  Notes 8 basic configuration has the same hardware requirements as Notes 6.5, but adds some new features -- and a single step upgrade path to Notes 8 standard configuration.

I can't see any logical reason for a customer running Notes 6.5 today to consider upgrading only to Notes 7.  It strikes me as odd to even be having the conversation...at least until I read the e-mails I got yesterday that finally confirmed for me that the recommendation's origin is the competition.  I've not exactly fawned over the fact that we're providing Notes 8 basic configuration, but now I see it has a tactical place in the armory, as the logical upgrade for even those customers that aren't sure of their future.  And for us, it's a much better one, because introducing Notes 8 in any form into the environment, and provides the opportunity to start internal selling on the full features, UI, and value of all the integration (Symphony, Sametime, Quickr, composite apps, etc) in the Notes 8 client.

Maybe it's Notes *7* that we should be looking at end-of-lifing sooner.

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