IBM conducts a Symphony (and pirates sing of rum)

Listen up! It's Wednesday's IT Blogwatch in which IBM charges not a single doubloon for Lotus Symphony. Not to mention some busy buccaneers ...

Eric Lai composed this tale:

One week after saying it would belatedly join the open-source community, IBM on Tuesday released its own version of the group's free desktop applications suite in another bid to upset the dominance of Microsoft Office.

In a blast from the past, IBM will call its version of the suite Lotus Symphony, which was the name of a DOS-based office suite sold by the former Lotus Development Corp. in the 1980s and 1990s based around its then-dominant Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet program. [read more]

Dan Farber sings a song of woe, lacrimoso:

Reusing an old IBM/Lotus name, Lotus Symphony is likely to meet the same fate as the ill-fated OS/2 and Lotus SmartSuite, the operating system IBM and productivity suite created in the 1990’s to topple Windows. [read more]

Mike Masnick has the dirt, gaudioso:

IBM threw its support behind OpenOffice, and the new free "Lotus Symphony" suite is going to be based on that platform. This could lead to two important things. First, if IBM dedicates increased resources to improving OpenOffice, it can become an even stronger competitor to Microsoft's office suite (and it's already pretty strong) -- similar to the way that IBM added some heft to Linux. However, more importantly, the IBM brand name is likely to go a lot further in enterprises than OpenOffice (or even Sun's StarOffice). [read more]

Tom Raftery's feeling social tonight, furioso:

As well as making Symphony free for download, IBM are also committing 35 developers to the OpenOffice development project. Again conferring the the IBM seal of approval on OpenOffice suddenly marks it up for serious consideration by larger companies.

Seen in light of these recent announcements, Microsoft’s recent move to capture the student market for Office begins to have an air of desperation about it! [read more]

Douglas McIntyre is stalking the truth, lamentoso:

Does the IBM launch matter? Probably not. Nor does the recent upgrade of Google Apps to include software similar to PowerPoint. Microsoft has about 500 million desktop applications running on PCs and the Journal writes the company has "sold 71 million licenses of its latest version of Office in the fiscal year ended June 30." The Office software sells for slightly more than $100. [read more]

David Hunter is in the know, vivace:

It’s been little known outside the enterprise software market that IBM has been offering variants of open source Open Office desk top software as part of their Lotus Notes email and collaboration package for several years. Today they went a step further in offering them as a free standalone package called Lotus Symphony.
As always with freebies, one wonders about the underlying monetization and a somewhat tangential explanation was forthcoming:

Steve Mills, IBM’s software chief, said that “something we deliver for free won’t be a moneymaker.” But if buyers of corporate computers give Symphony to some employees, it might free up budgets to buy other software from IBM, he said.

I would discount that in favor of a recognition that office software is now rapidly becoming a commodity and giving it away for free drives support services and enhances other offerings. [read more]

Larry Dignan laments, irato:

Is there anyone not targeting Microsoft Office?

IBM is reportedly going to offer free software to compete with Microsoft Office, Google launched its PowerPoint wannabe and Yahoo acquires Zimbra in a really nice move that could be a precursor to Yahoo Office.

In between those announcements there’s OpenOffice 2.3. On any given day there are updates for those tracking this space from the likes of Zoho, StarOffice and other usual suspects. IBM is even bringing back retreads to target Office. At least the price (free) is right. The target: The Microsoft Office juggernaut.

Well I’m tired of it. [read more]

Buffer overflow:

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Previously in IT Blogwatch

And finally ... we ask, what say ye on Talk Like A Pirate Day, arrrrggggghhhh? Bonus sing-a-long (have yer headphones on, matey) thanks to mediawar.

Computerworld's online projects editor, Joyce Carpenter, compiled IT Blogwatch today. Regular Blogwatcher Richi Jennings will return later in the week.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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