eWeek: IBM Writes Symphony to Build Foundations

Good write up of the Lotus Symphony 1.0 release by eWeek:

IBM releases Lotus Symphony and Foundations Start in an effort to pry SMB market share from Microsoft’s grasp.

IBM’s Lotus Symphony software is ready for prime time, as the company moved the free collaboration suite out of beta and put it in front of the public June 3.
The software, which supports the ODF (Open Document Format), is designed as a free alternative to Microsoft’s Office suite and includes word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications.

“A growing number of businesses are considering decisions to renew their Office licensing agreements, and move up to Office 2007 and Vista,” IBM said in a statement. “Lotus Symphony 1.0 provides a timely and cost-effective alternative tested by nearly 1 million people worldwide and assured backed by IBM.”

The lack of cost also puts Lotus Symphony in competition with the free Google Apps, which include hosted word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. Meanwhile, Adobe unveiled Acrobat.com June 2 as yet another hosted productivity and collaboration suite.

Symphony is still free in its official incarnation, but IBM, as is its wont, is also providing fee-based services to support this suite in larger organizations.
Priced at $25 per user for 1,000 employees, IBM Elite Support for Lotus Symphony 1.0 provides unlimited remote technical support via an annual subscription to IBM’s Passport Advantage or Passport Advantage Express volume licensing programs.

To grease the wheels and get Symphony out to as many users as possible, IBM June 2 also officially launched Lotus Foundations Start, the company’s first collaboration server for small and midsize businesses.

Symphony is the office productivity software component of Lotus Foundations, which in one box includes Lotus Notes and Domino e-mail, file management, directory services, self-configuring firewall, self-configuring disk backup, and anti-virus and anti-spam features.

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!