"There has been a paranoia in the market that we might abandon the people who really love Notes, and my answer to them was there are 100 million users of Notes and millions of developers," Goyal said. "It would be foolish for us to abandon that." Goyal said continuing releases of Notes and Domino throughout last year, culminating in the release of Version 6.5 of the platform in October, helped convince customers that the commitment to Notes and Domino would not end.Goyal said Lotus has no intention of replacing Notes and Domino, even as it focuses on the fledgling Workplace platform. Instead, hes more interested in bringing Notes and Domino into the open-standards world. "Im not the rip-and-replace kind of a person," said Goyal. "Its about open standards and extending the reach, and thats what we are trying to get done with Domino and Notes." Still, much of the focus at Lotus is on the new Workplace platform, which debuted last May. Lotus released four collaborative applications built on Workplace last year and plans to announce a new developer tool called Workplace Builder at its Lotusphere conference later this month. That release will begin to fulfill a goal Goyal has stated in the past: to allow nondevelopers to develop collaborative applications by simply dragging and dropping collaborative components. These application "builders," as Goyal refers to them, will be able to use Workplace Builder to create people-oriented workflows, integrated with business processes, he said. Lotus users may not be in revolt as they were at Lotusphere in 2002, but Goyals fence-straddling between Notes/Domino and Workplace is still causing confusion. "I havent seen a clear road map of IBMs vision for the product line," said Scott Melendez, principal IS engineer and project manager for enterprise messaging for the city and county of San Francisco. "I hear a whole lot about ideas and concepts that sound great in principle but which I think would be difficult to execute in todays economic climate." Instead of Workplace, Melendez said he wants better integration between Exchange and Domino. His office uses both and isnt looking to standardize on either. "I appreciate IBMs efforts to compete with Microsoft [Corp.] on feature parity, but the reality of the world is that [Microsofts] Exchange/ Outlook [collaboration platform is] here to stay, and IBM needs to recognize that and devote the resources required to make the two more interoperable," Melendez said.
"I think its just the paranoia is starting to come down rather than any change of strategy," Goyal said.