Co-operation between IBM and Apple: a logical extension

in Mac Software edited January 2014
In FH, there is a thread about a Macdoobedoo article on an alleged project called Dark Star - the crux of the thread being that Apple and IBM are working on a system that appears to be an sgi Onyx 4 crusher.

What if this co-operation went deeper, not quite to the level of the fabled 'Pink' or OpenDoc, but more practical and certainly more beneficial.

Consider the following: -
  • IBM appear to ship a copy of Lotus Smartsuite with their business machines

  • Most business users probably use those CDs as drinks coasters

  • Lotus also make Notes, which I personally find a bit kludgey, but I know some people who swear by it - as opposed to me, I swear at it

  • But Lotus Notes is losing mindshare at a frightening rate in the messaging space

  • Lotus were also a foundation NeXT developer, with the simply awesome Improv

  • Improv asid - cos it was NeXTStep and very pretty - one could argue all of the Lotus products could do with a kick up the ass.

  • Apple are continually at risk from Microsith pulling a sulk and taking their ball with them

  • No matter what the new head of the MBU says - no disrespect, but she comes across like a Stepford Wife in interview - Microsith with always treat Apple as a second-class citizen: Exchange support, SharePoint support, Visio, Project, need I go on?

  • As much as I respect the various mail and calendar servers available for OS X, let's be honest, people want an integrated approach to managing mail, contacts, diaries, etc.

  • Apple has an integrated approach on a solo or micro-business level with Mail, iCal and Address Book, but they'll never be an attractive solution for larger businesses until all of the data can be utilised in a collaborative fashion and stored/secured centrally.

  • Apple has shown with Keynote that it can take a paradigm where the status quo had become totally accepted and completely revitalise the marketplace, as well as galavanising a whole micro-industry of theme and plug-in developers.

So what if Armonk and Cupertino decided to co-operate on application software?
  • IBM would contribute SmartSuite as a starting point

  • Apple would contribute AppleWorks + Keynote as their starting point

  • IBM would effectively transfer the majority of Lotus' efforts to Apple's apps software function, whilst keeping control of the Notes server product. Notes client would move to Apple.

  • Improv would then be resurrected as the basis for an Apple spreadsheet.

  • Ami Pro and AppleWorks would contribute the code for a new fully-featured word processor

  • Keynote would be supplant Freelance as the presentation package

  • Notes Server would be transformed by Apple and IBM to deliver storage for a Mail/iCal/Address Book troika. Rendezvous would be used to deliver stellar ease of set-up for message transfer agents.

  • Notes client would step away from the messaging client space, and the workspace/database role would be rearchitected to deliver an XML-based portal-like function.

  • Time to think outside the box: make those nice Konfabulator people (Arlo whatever and the other chap) an offer they can't refuse and use a commercialised Konfabulator as a way of delivering information to the desktop: my desktop is a mess of Konfab widgets giving me share prices, weather info, news and whole lot more. Why can't the technology be incorporated into a cut-down Safari, so that passive information gets delivered to your desktop, whilst active information (i.e. stuff you actually interact with) is run through a Notes browser.

  • Notes plus WebObjects: a marriage made in heaven using Rendezvous as the marriage broker. Add-in all of the databases of your choice, MySQL, 4D, Cache, Sybase ASE, Oracle, even SQL Server if you're so inclined.

  • Improv becomes Notes aware, Notes is data-aware, ergo Improv is data-aware.

  • I like the idea of tweaking the nose of authority: make all of it cross-platform, let's see how Office copes with real competition.

  • All software products except Keynote acknowledge their Lotus roots with the logo: Powered by Lotus SmartSuite technology!

  • Whole bundle £200/$275 with 3 years software assurance - upgrades - another £75/$90 if purchased within 90 days. Volume discounts available obviously bring bundle down to minimum £175/$240 including 3 years assurance.

  • Notes server available on xServe and Wintel

  • Suite available discounted on Macintosh and IBM Wintel boxes

Now all we're missing is Visio - with which Graffle is definitely capable of competing and Project with which FastTrack needs to do some serious catching up.

Comments gratefeully accepted!


  • Reply 1 of 3
    gizzmonicgizzmonic Posts: 511member
    That's some creative thinking!

    I don't really like these "let's ditch Microsoft and get our own version of Office" threads, but this is the best one I've heard so far.

    That being said, Apple should not antagonize Microsoft. But if Microsoft decides to leave the platform, this is the perfect strategy for getting a new office suite.
  • Reply 2 of 3

    Originally posted by Gizzmonic

    That's some creative thinking!

    I don't really like these "let's ditch Microsoft and get our own version of Office" threads, but this is the best one I've heard so far.

    That being said, Apple should not antagonize Microsoft. But if Microsoft decides to leave the platform, this is the perfect strategy for getting a new office suite.

    It's not actually a let's ditch MS thread - I'd prefer them to stick around, but to just work a little harder.

    However, if Monkey Boy Ballmer throws his bananas out of the tree and withdraws Office from the Mac then an Apple/IBM suite would become THE cross-platform tool, an advantage that could be maximised by creating a positive developer relations environment and a clearly documented XML-based file format.

    At this point, you are actually daring MS to pull the plug on Office for the Mac, you're actually asking them to prove they're not chicken on the fight - a test they've already failed in the Safari/IE arena.

    Our side's mission statement:

    We've built the most open, extensible, cross-platform personal productivity suite in the market today

    We're also the most cost-effective to buy and maintain.

    We've built ViaVoice continuous speech recognition into all of the applications, and a common plug-in architecture with frameworks in either Java or Objective C.

    Many of the frameworks have collaboration hooks built in and use Rendezvous, Notes and WebObjects so that content creators and knowledge-based workers can put live and dynamic content into their documents simply by referring to a content and data directory available in Notes.

    I would like to see how MS could answer that challenge if it was put to them.
  • Reply 3 of 3
    Both my wife and mother are at large corporate offices (independtly) and they both use Lotus Notes corporate-wide. Sounds like a damn good idea to me. I think monopoly is bad, regardless who it is.
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