IBM Dropping support for Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook (DAMO)

Ed Brill noted today that IBM has chosen to drop plans for future support of DAMO from the Lotus Domino roadmap. Its an interesting position that IBM is taking. As a consultant, I've always had some various compatibility issues with DAMO, particularly in the corner cases that Ed mentions. Now that the Notes client has matured, and now competitive with the Outlook client, it makes sense strategically.

Microsoft is at a vulnerable position now. For the past several iterations of Exchange, they have largely forced customers to rip and replace, whereas Domino has always been a graceful upgrade process (excluding the 5.0 to 6.0 which had relatively minor issues compared to Exchange). Microsoft has publicly told its customers to abandon current plans for upgrading to Exchange 2007, and instead focus on what would be an upgrade to Exchange 2010. We already know that customers on 32 bit version of Windows were going to be in for a shock in being forced to upgrade to 64 bit Windows and subsequently 64 back end support. This migration was a difficult pill to swallow.

It is a risk to abandon support as it puts existing Domino/DAMO customers in a position of having to roll out Notes clients in future upgrades. That said, the install base, and the relative difficulty in maintaining the codestream to be compatible and fully functional with Outlook made the effort an unprofittable one. It is also quite a statement at the level of confidence IBM has in the Lotus Notes client today as compared to say the version 6.5 days. Those that know IBM, know they don't wipe their butt without significant market analysis, and the market analysis trends (as Ed Brill has commented on) have been very positive as the Eclipse based Notes client has matured.

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