IBM recently posted this announcement.

Announce1

This is really an announcement that there will be an announcement.  Lets take a guess at what could be coming.

The lifecycle policy defines the length of time that a product is supported following its release.  For IBM Notes it is classified as Enhanced, or 5 + 3.  The product will be supported for 5 years since the date it was released, with 3 more years  optional if a customer pays for support.   Notes 9.01 was released in April of 2013, so the end of support would be in April of 2018.

Initially my prediction was that in September IBM will change that policy to extend the time that Notes is supported from 5 to something like 7 years or more.   I thought that the reason 9.0.2 was not released was because it would require that IBM support it for at least another 5 years, and they did not want to do that.

After attending MWLUG, and talking to others in the community, I am not sure that is the case.  The lifecycle policy does not kick in for a point release, something like a 9.0.2.  It would for a major new release, like version 10, but not for a point release.  That being said, apparently there is a QA and documentation process that is part of a point release, and that costs money.  It appears to me and others I talked to that IBM is putting features into the fix packs to avoid having to absorb the costs related to a point release.

In the per-announcement above they talk about their continued commitment to Notes & Domino, referencing to new features and the release of Verse on-premises.   Verse uses the Domino server, and in my opinion is a replacement for iNotes, their Domino web based mail client.   If IBM sees the need to provide an alternative for Notes email it suggests to me that the intent is to retire the Notes client in the near future.

It could be they extend the lifecycle for Notes beyond the Enhanced 5 & 3 model to calm customers who are currently running 9.0.1, or that they change the nomenclature around releases and Fix Packs to be more in line with the cloud, or they take it a step further and announce that Notes is withdrawn as a SKU.

Our DOCOVA product can be looked at as a replacement for the Notes client when it comes to applications, so I expect to be criticized as stirring the pot.  Please keep in mind that at DLI our roots are in Notes & Domino.  We only created a SQL version because we were forced to because of a decaying market.  I think the Domino technology is still heads and shoulders above many of the alternatives.  I would like nothing more than to be part of a vibrant community selling Notes & Domino solutions.

September is just around the corner, so we will not have long to wait.