Re: Notes wasn't a bad idea.
As soon as RDBMS became available on cheaper servers, Notes and its non-relational database were doomed, especially since better tools to build database frontends became available also.
In the late 1990s I have seen many companies migrating away from Notes applications to ones written in Visual Basic (or even Access) and Delphi (and later web ones). There were also far more commercial applications that used an RDBMS backed instead of Notes. Sure, IBM shops went the painful route (I worked for one, but it too switched to Exchange and RDBMSes, my group was the Exchange/Outlook pilot group - and we didn't looked back). With Exchange, MS understood there was really no need to put too many eggs in one basket, especially since it has also Access and SQL Server to sell.
The UI modeled after some ancient Egyptian design was also a reason why most users hated it. Multi-platform doesn't mean necessarily an ugly UI on each platform.
Yet, I don't understand what companies like IBM, or MS, want to sell now. Just rent hardware with some software they don't develop? I can see them easily wiped out by cheaper Chinese or even Indian cloud companies in the near future. When you no longer have any competitive advantage, and just resell someone's else stuff, the cheapest one wins.