Back before my vacation, a few bloggers were talking about the abrasive, mixed message that IBM was sending to the market by having a web page from ibm.com Global Technology Services describing their Notes to Exchange migration offering.  My stance at the time was that IBM, as a portfolio business that is dedicated to every client's success, should be the best possible systems integrator for Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, or whomever else in our GTS business, even while we are competing with those companies in our software business.

Some of you didn't like that answer, and I certainly understand why.  It's one thing for us to be great at every business that makes sense within the various segments, it's another to play them against each other in negative ways.

At any rate, the topic bounced around the blogosphere enough that there was plenty of internal chatter about this within IBM.  As of yesterday, the web page in question had been removed from ibm.com.  You all were heard, and you collectively made the right call.  I was too willing to fly the IBM flag overall, but on further reflection, one of my peers convinced me that it was the wrong approach.

I still believe the "Lotus community" could do more to understand collectively why Lotus as a brand within IBM matters.  The acquisition was 15 years ago, we can stop talking about it now; other than being IBM's first large software acquisition, it really doesn't matter today.  IBM's strength is the ability to draw on diverse resources across our entire organization to provide client solutions; it's the unique value of IBM to be able to do that.  How we build product, what we build, who builds it, who supports it, who deploys it -- those are all things that are completely identical to how the other hundreds of IBM software products operate today.  Sometimes it puts us in conflict across IBM, no different than other companies with multiple product lines.  Heck it's not even just a big company issue -- I remember the discussions back when I was at US Robotics 18 years ago about the Courier vs. Sportster modem market overlap, back when we were all of about 500 employees.

IBM as a company will never sing in perfect unison, but we dig harmony.  Except that sometimes, there's a sour note.  This time, you all helped correct it.

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