IBM announced that the next version of Lotus Notes (minimally clever code name “Hannover“) will support the Open Document Format (ODF) by embedding OpenOffice components into the Notes client. This will allow users to save documents (word processing, spreadsheets, e-mail messages, etc.) in a portable, open format. It also sounds like Notes / Domino will expose this capability via API for both Notes and Domino (Web) applications.
This has one interesting note and one virtue. The interesting note is that Notes now creates some competition for Microsoft Office by offering OpenOffice functionality. It’s hardly enough to replace Office as a suite, but 1) it lets cost-conscious companies escape Office licensing fees and 2) most users don’t employ the full range of Office functionality anyway. This will probably have only a minor impact.
The virtue is that it moves Notes towards open standards in terms of document format. States such as Massachusetts are increasingly concerned about being locked into proprietary formats (which both Office and Notes employ natively) for files. Massachusetts has started to move towards ODF, a laudable move. This could have a significant impact, especially if Notes moves towards some sort of open standards object store for the Notes database itself.
Disclosure: I used to work for Lotus, and still use Notes by choice. I own IBM stock, which is currently so far underwater there’s coral growing on it. So, I’m not unbiased here.