IBM Drops Lotus Brand, Takes Notes and Domino Forward
IBM has dropped the Lotus brand from its collaboration software products as it prepares to release a new version of Notes and Domino.In a move that has been a long time in the making, IBM is dropping the Lotus brand and moving forward with the IBM brand, only to identify products like Notes and Domino. IBM plans to deliver a public beta of IBM Notes/Domino 9.0 Social Edition that will not carry the Lotus brand, Ed Brill, director of social business and collaboration solutions at IBM, wrote in a Nov. 13 blog post. "…This beta is also the point where Notes/Domino will join other IBM software solutions in sporting only the IBM brand—the second-most-valuable brand in the world," Brill said in his post. IBM's dropping the Lotus brand might be viewed as a historic moment for old-timers, but also as a business-as-usual move by an industry giant. Lotus has been around since 1982, initially as the Massachusetts-based Lotus Development Corp., which released its famed Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet in 1983. IBM acquired Lotus in 1995 for $3.5 billion, primarily to get hold of Lotus Notes, then a wildly popular groupware system developed by Ray Ozzie's Iris Associates that was eating into IBM's profits. "In a nutshell, the updated branding of Notes and Domino is a continuation of IBM's overall branding strategy," an IBM spokeswoman told eWEEK. "As social business begins to dominate the collaboration market, Lotus must follow suit. It's not about IBM dropping a brand, but more about strengthening the portfolio and meeting customer needs."
Over the years Lotus has seen its share of scrapes and scuffles, as well as triumphs, including when its hard-charging former CEO Jim Manzi tried to take on Bill Gates' Microsoft directly and came out bruised for his efforts. In addition, Lotus pioneered some of the IT industry's big "look and feel" lawsuits, as it charged Paperback Software, Mosaic and Borland with copying the Lotus 1-2-3 interface.