Lotus jubilant as Notes doubles user base in ‘97

Lotus shipped more than 10 million Notes seats in 1997 - doubling its installed base and coming in two million over its own target, president Jeff Papows told the opening session of Lotusphere 98 in Orlando, Florida, last week. The sales momentum comes largely from an unexpectedly strong fourth quarter, which saw more than four million units of Notes sold. Growth was strongest in the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America. Papows said Lotus also took market share from competitors in the messaging market, and in paid Web servers, where Domino, with shipments up 227%, now has a quarter of the market.

Lotus shipped more than 10 million Notes seats in 1997 — doubling its installed base and coming in two million over its own target, president Jeff Papows told the opening session of Lotusphere 98 in Orlando, Florida, last week.

The sales momentum comes largely from an unexpectedly strong fourth quarter, which saw more than four million units of Notes sold. Growth was strongest in the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America.

Papows said Lotus also took market share from competitors in the messaging market, and in paid Web servers, where Domino, with shipments up 227%, now has a quarter of the market.

Lotus’s past 12 months — its strongest in terms of revenue growth since 1990 —may also have seen off any lingering doubts about compatibility with its parent, IBM.

The new Notes client, officially unveiled last week, is smaller and more browser-like than its predecessors, even though it integrates for the first time all Lotus’s communications products into one package.

Some time-worn strategies have been reworked for Notes 5.0. The Domino server and the Notes client have been decoupled, and the company is billing the client as a “kick-ass” standards-based client in its own right, whatever the server. Change to its mail features include the addition of filtering and the introduction of separate headers, a la the soon-to-be-discontinued cc:Mail.

Lotus says Domino will also be able to provide the “ultimte browser experience” to any Java-capable client by souping up Web browsers with its eSuite productivity applets.

The eSuite Workplace applets will ship on network computers sold by IBM, Oracle/NCI and Sun over the next three months, but executive vice-president Mike Zisman warned reporters afterwards not to get “over-focus” on the network client as the vehicle for eSuite.

For the first time, the more advanced application design elements have been taken out of the standard Notes client and placed in a new application, Domino Designer, which offers features including a synopsis of design elements, script libraries, an outline view of application structures, and drag and drop.

Gone from the basic client is the Notes desktop, in favour of Portfolios, links which can be pushed down from the server, while the Windows menu has been scrapped and replaced by a tabs interface.

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