Network World: No alternative to Microsoft Office? IBM begs to differ

Great coverage of the latest Lotus Symphony announcements from Network World:

IBM Thursday announced upgrades to and a roadmap for its 15-month-old Lotus Symphony suite of productivity tools, emphasizing it indeed offers an alternative to Microsoft Office.

The move comes after Microsoft recently said that a court order to remove Office from store shelves next month could leave consumers and businesses “stranded without an alternative set of software.”


Microsoft is battling a patent infringement case brought by Toronto-based i4i over XML file formats. The 2007 case resulted in a $290 million judgment against Microsoft and an injunction that bars it from selling Word 2003 and Word 2007 after Oct. 10 unless the offending technology is removed.


“What we are trying to do with Symphony is establish that there is an option in the market and companies don’t have to spend the money they spend for productivity suites,” says
Ed Brill, director of product management for Lotus Software.

The article covers the roadmap for Symphony (2.0 due in 2010, based on the latest OpenOffice code) and some new exciting new widget packages:

But for now IBM, which offers Symphony as a free download and the default productivity software in Notes/Domino 8, is adding a new set of drag-and-drop widgets that include integration with popular Microsoft backend software such as the SharePoint Server. The software also integrates with Google Gadgets and Lotus’s own Sametime and Connections platforms.
Part of the widget package is the OrgChart Widget, which integrates with profiles in Lotus Connections so users can be added into meetings that convene online with a single click.


Other widgets include the Learning Widget, which combines local and Web-based information; a Team Workspace Widget that provides access to documents stored in Lotus Quickr or Microsoft SharePoint; the Symphony 2 Wiki Widgets provide conversion of documents for publishing on wikis; the Treasure Box Widget keeps a “favorites list” inside Symphony of frequently used documents, graphics and applications; and the Export Graphic Widget supports export of common formats such as .gif, .jpeg, .png, .bmp.


In addition, the ChartShare Widget provides screen sharing for up to 20 people with support for co-creation and editing of presentations. It also supports integration with Lotus Sametime Unyte Live’s meeting capability. The ChartShare Widget also gives presence information on every contributor to the presentation and a link to instant messaging.

Impressive stuff.

Link: Network World – No alternative to Microsoft Office? IBM begs to differ

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!