Ray Ozzie, creator of Lotus Notes, writes about how Notes may save the browser from Eolas patent lawsuits. Eolas recently sued Microsoft over the use of plugins in the browser. Notes was doing essentially the same thing years before. Indeed, Ozzie writes that Notes people didn’t see much difference between the Web and what Notes could do:
In 1993 or thereabouts, we saw the emergence of TCP/IP, HTML, HTTP, Mosaic and the Web. From our perspective, all of these were simplistic emulations of a tiny subset of what we’d been doing in Notes for years. TCP/IP instead of Netbeui or IPX/SPX, HTML instead of CD records, HTTP instead of the Notes client/server protocols, httpd instead of a Notes server. And we were many years ahead in other ways: embedded compound objects, security, composition of documents as opposed to just “browsing” them, and a sophisticated development environment. I am quite embarassed to say that we frankly didn’t “get” what was so innovative about this newfangled “Web” thing, given the capabilities of what had already been built.