Not everyone is thrilled by Notes 8; the Outlook 2003 look-a-like

I admit, IBM has made great progress with Notes 8. Then again if you consider the UI they ‘innovated’ it could only become better.

IBM now shows the new client off by asking customers “spot the Notes client” and they show a side-by-side screenshot of Notes 8 and Outlook 2003 or 2007.

A big compliment for Microsoft Outlook. But is this really the incentive for customers to stick with Lotus Notes or to consider moving off of their current platform to Lotus Notes ?

IBM will say, Notes 8 is much more than just an email / calendar / task / contacts client. And it is, IBM has integrated a lot more functionality into the “überclient”

According to a post by Volker Weber a bit too much :

… I know this is a touchy topic for Notes enthusiasts. But is the new design really progress? Look at this screenshot provided my IBM.

notes 8 mail interface

In many respects it apes the popular Outlook interface. But it is also very busy: a menu bar, tabs with the Open button, a toolbar with a search entry field, then another toolbar with s a “show” selector, then a header with a “sort” selector, then finally the items, two lines each. Within the message some decoration (globe) and a busy header. …

Gartner Group has also provided a response to Notes 8 :

… The long wait for Lotus users is over. The impressive new functionality of Notes and Domino 8 will make the faithful happy. But new users still need to be won over. …

… The composite application development improvements potentially open up rich new possibilities for users. However, this base is still concentrated in very large accounts and IBM has not done enough to expand its presence to the larger market of organizations with less than 10,000 people. As with any broad platform, this is a strategic choice. While WebSphere is not required, users who do not wish to go down the WebSphere route will have fewer reasons to adopt Notes/Domino 8. IBM must move quickly to capitalize on the possibilities Notes/Domino 8 introduces, since Microsoft continues to be a formidable competitor and smaller Web 2.0 startups have also aimed at this market. …

My conclusion : nice UI, have been using the Microsoft version of it for years (since 2003 !) and like it. Microsoft is more than Outlook and it will take more than mimicking Outlook in this competition. Also the majority of organisation in the market for a collaboration platform or innovating their current platform look beyond the UI, at least the clients I talk to.


Update 31-8-2007 : Alan Lepofsky posted a 2 page “training card” on Notes 8. This simplifies things … or not … 

There is a two page training card, Using Lotus Notes 8 which you can print out:
Image:A lot of new Notes 8 content


Update 3-9-2007 : And its gets better. Ed Brill also posted about an article referring to the Gartner report I quoted. Be sure to check all the comments.