IBM announced last week that it would be selling a group of collaborative software products to HCL for $ 1.8 billion. That group includes Notes and Domino. The sale is expected to be closed mid 2019.
It was about this time last year that IBM announced a strategic partnership with HCL. They said that after more than a decade of neglect they were entering a period of renewed focus and would be increasing their investment in Notes and Domino. However, the exact opposite has happened. They have now stated that they’ve changed their focus to cloud and other technologies, and Notes/Domino including the bulk of their Collaboration portfolio no longer fit into that strategy.
I’ve read several articles about this acquisition and the opinions vary. On one hand some see it as a new wind being breathed back into the sails of Notes and Domino. Others perceive it as a sinking ship, that HCL is a services company and not a product company. HCL unveiled “Places” in May 2018, a collaborative workflow platform that some speculated was a replacement for Notes. It takes me back to the IBM Workplace days, when Ambuj Goyal announced Workplace at Lotusphere and all the confusion around how that product would impact Notes.
In my opinion, for many customers sitting on the fence regarding Notes and Domino, this acquisition will validate the decision to move to something else. After all, that is what Big Blue has done.