There have been some complaints in the Yellowverse about the Eclipse client size and performance issues on older systems. Truth is, this has never been an issue to me, particularly when compared to Outlook. John Head has recently posted some basic performance comparisons of Notes and Outlook on a new laptop, and the results (though granted very limited), showed equivalent performance.
To me, the capabilities that Eclipse brings to the Notes client are a significant competitive differentiator. Email is not recreational reading. It is information we act on in our work day, and frequently we take that data to other systems, either within our company or out on the internet, to get the next piece of data we need or take the next action required in the business process. The sidebar in Notes brings those other systems directly into the Notes client, and live text provides that intelligent and direct link between my mail and those systems. This is cool stuff. This is smarter email, and these capabilities are worth the investment in the PCs capable of running the Notes client locally.
Now, Google may have clued into the insight Lotus has brought here. But Google's usability is still light years behind the Notes client in my experience. I still have a hard time finding the darn 'Forward' link for very basic email functionality. Now I don't know how hard it is to create contextual gadgets for the Google environment, but I seriously doubt that it is as straightforward as it is in the Notes client. Thanks to Bob Balfe for posting the video below that is a great example of Gist, how it is integrated into the Notes client, and how easily it can be extended to composite applications as well. (skip past the Tungle integration)
Of course, Google does have the lead on making their gadgets easily available to customers through a marketplace, making it easier for business partners to make money on gadgets they create, and easier for customers to find gadgets of value. I'm sorry -- but an effective Lotus app store will not be satisfied by OpenNTF nor through a business partner hosted alternative. Lotus, you have to build and host this marketplace, vet the applications that are put into it, and manage the commerce transactions.