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If you were a venture capitalist and someone came into your office tomorrow with a web server that could run on a single, fairly standard, Windows or Linux machine and that had a list of capabilities as I’ve described below -- and that was actually stable and functioning right now -- you couldn’t possibly bring yourself to invest in it fast enough.
The simple truth is that there is only one product on the market with even close to this full list of capabilities out of the box in a single install. Certainly not anything else that could be installed on any desktop grade machine if need be in under 30 minutes.
Such a product does exist, and has for quite a few years. Why then, is it not the market leading public web server? Why, in fact, does this web server have so little market share that it doesn’t even register on the December 2012 Netcraft web server survey?
The answer is simple. It is an IBM product. Only IBM could continue, year over year, to so badly miss every opportunity to properly leverage such a technologically powerful product into a market position that can even hit 3% of the global web servers in use. That kind of consistency is amazing. Sadly, it is the only thing consistent about IBM’s product management of the Lotus product line. By switching out general managers like clockwork just about the time they start to understand the product, IBM leaves the decisions effectively in the hands of product managers without sufficient adult supervision. Some of them are very good, very highly skilled people. Others clearly are not. What’s missing is a long term leader who can tell the difference – supporting the good ones, and tossing the bad ones. The good product managers and the bad product managers have to fight on a nearly daily basis for access to the feeding trough of funds and staff to do their work. Even in that turmoil, when left alone, the good ones usually beat the bad ones for resources because frankly they get the job done while the bad ones are floundering. They are not, however, left sufficiently alone for that to happen very often. Just imagine what competent leadership and marketing could do with specs like these!
Every two years some genius up the chain at IBM decides they have the “NEXT BIG THING”. The ultimate answer to a question no one is asking. They find some people at Gartner or one of the firms to get all excited about it, and the command comes down from on high to build yet another giant, steaming, heap of code on top of a very powerful tool so that the new thing can be supported while it grows. The plan is always to ultimately replace the original product, but these super replacement projects have failed over and over and over. They require tens of thousands of dollars more hardware, tens of thousands of dollars more licenses, hundreds or even thousands of hours of consulting to get running – and then nobody uses them. Eventually they go away, but you know what gets left behind? All those giant, steaming, heaps of code layered on ever thicker to the carcass of a once great product.
What is the point of all this?
The IBM Lotus Domino server continues to lose market share, and the companies that still use it feel increasingly as if they’re the only ones left. Clearly they’re not, but the pool is definitely shrinking. The fault for this lies squarly on the shoulders of the Product Management leaders of the IBM Lotus software team (now the “Collaboration” team). It’s time to see them accept that responsibility instead of quoting carefully word-smithed statements about their market numbers and hiding behind a million reasons why they’re not getting the job done.
Oh. And here’s that web server product spec list I promised… I challenge you to find ANYTHING that will do all these things and can be installed and running in 30 minutes on any common desktop grade PC , Server, or VM.
Native Protocol Support
Programmability – Native editors, storage, and objects for
Native Cross Platform Server
Just imagine what competent leadership and marketing could do with specs like these!
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