Wednesday, September 19th 2007

I.B.M. to Offer Office Software Free in Challenge to Microsoft’s Line

I.B.M. plans to mount its most ambitious challenge in years to Microsoft’s dominance of personal computer software, by offering free programs for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations.

The company announced the desktop software, called I.B.M. Lotus Symphony, at an event yesterday in New York. The programs will be available as free downloads from the I.B.M. Web site.

I.B.M.’s Lotus-branded proprietary programs already compete with Microsoft products for e-mail, messaging and work group collaboration. But the Symphony software is a free alternative to Microsoft’s mainstay Office programs — Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The Office business is huge and lucrative for Microsoft, second only to its Windows operating system as a profit maker.


Its offerings are versions of open-source software developed in a consortium called OpenOffice.org. The original code traces its origins to a German company, Star Division, which Sun Microsystems bought in 1999. Sun later made the desktop software, now called StarOffice, an open-source project, in which work and code are freely shared.

I.B.M.’s engineers have been working with OpenOffice technology for some time. But last week, I.B.M. declared that it was formally joining the open-source group, had dedicated 35 full-time programmers to the project and would contribute code to the initiative.

Free office productivity software has long been available from OpenOffice.org, and the open-source alternative has not yet made much progress against Microsoft’s Office. But I.B.M., analysts note, has such reach and stature with corporate customers that its endorsement could be significant.

I.B.M. executives compare this move with the push it gave Linux, the open-source operating system, into corporate data centers. In 2000, I.B.M. declared that it would forcefully back Linux with its engineers, its marketing and its dollars. The support from I.B.M. helped make Linux a mainstream technology in corporations, where it competes with Microsoft’s Windows server software.

Read the Full StorySource: The New York Times
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32 Comments on I.B.M. to Offer Office Software Free in Challenge to Microsoft’s Line

#1
Helvetica
Well, the price is right - but I bet you get what you pay for - just like google Docs.
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#2
Sasqui
Yea, will be interesting to see where this goes (if anywhere). Good find Polaris.
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#3
Polaris573
Senior Moderator
by: Helvetica
Well, the price is right - but I bet you get what you pay for - just like google Docs.
I don't know about that. Open Office is pretty good, especially for free, and this software is based on that.
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#4
Sasqui
Here's a pretty ranting insight on the whole thing (also an entertaining read): http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2007/09/18.html

"...Crazy story? Substitute “Google Gmail” with “Lotus 1-2-3”. The NewSDK will be the second coming of Microsoft Windows; this is exactly how Lotus lost control of the spreadsheet market. And it’s going to happen again on the web because all the same dynamics and forces are in place. The only thing we don’t know yet are the particulars, but it’ll happen...."
Posted on Reply
#5
jydie
I agree with Polaris, OpenOffice is a very good alternative to Microsoft Office... especially for the casual users that do not need all the fancy options. PLUS, you can run OpenOffice under Windows and Linux!!! :toast: Hopefully with IBM backing it, this will take a bite out of sales for the ridiculously priced Microsoft Office Suite.
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#6
panchoman
Sold my stars!
by: Polaris573
I don't know about that. Open Office is pretty good, especially for free, and this software is based on that.
yeah, agreed. open office does a really good job at doing the same functions as ms office and it can do somethings that ms office cant all for free. though i support all things that go againt microsoft so keep up the good work ibm :toast:
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#7
Sasqui
by: panchoman
so keep up the good work ibm :toast:
IBM doing good work - when?
Posted on Reply
#8
surfsk8snow.jah
by: Sasqui
IBM doing good work - when?
daym. harshness lol.

I just hope this brings down the price-point on MS gouging us for legit Office.
Posted on Reply
#9
Sasqui
by: surfsk8snow.jah
daym. harshness lol.

I just hope this brings down the price-point on MS gouging us for legit Office.
I agree - it's just unlikely that IBM will do it (unfortunately).
Posted on Reply
#10
Polaris573
Senior Moderator
I installed it. My initial impressions are that Open Office is superior.
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#11
Bob The Fish
My grandfarther still used lotus 123 for DOS. he hates office XP, maby he will like this?
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#12
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
yeah, I got open office as well as office 2007 so Im happy with both. Open office is snazzier and quicker and less intrusive. This looks to be a nice alternative.
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#13
panchoman
Sold my stars!
lotus notes is sick, my dad uses it on his laptop, hes got the whole lotus package, why isn't that free instead ??
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#14
Solaris17
Creator Solaris Utility DVD
by offering free programs for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations.
open office......
Posted on Reply
#15
mdm-adph
by: Sasqui
IBM doing good work - when?
Oh, only practically the entire evolution of computers up until about 1980 or so.

But don't worry about that. :p
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#16
Darkrealms
The question is "Is it free for businesses, education, and government?". If not I don't think the dent will be that big. If it is then can all the documents made in Microsoft Office be converted to this and vise versa??
Posted on Reply
#17
Sasqui
by: mdm-adph
Oh, only practically the entire evolution of computers up until about 1980 or so.

But don't worry about that. :p
Unfortunately it ended there in the 80's :banghead:

They are doing great in the sever market... well good at the moment. But that's hardware, and most of it runs MS software. IBM has an intrinsically horrible track record in software, - going back 20 yrs!!!

I am not an MS (monpoly) fan, trust me.
Posted on Reply
#18
POGE
I don't think its really needed since open office is around. :)
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#19
niko084
by: Polaris573
I don't know about that. Open Office is pretty good, especially for free, and this software is based on that.
Exactly and in a lot of ways open office is superior to MS office... Doesn't have the help guides and all the fancy templates but its more powerful.

I'll be checking it out for sure.
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#20
panchoman
Sold my stars!
open office is superior, and lets see if ibm can make their own version of open office even better the then current open office, a free office suite that can do more functions then ms office and is exactly like ms office(which open office isn't fully, lots of differences, will take the general public time to adjust) will definently put a dent into microsoft considering office 2007 is like 600 bucks.
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#21
Polaris573
Senior Moderator
by: Sasqui
Unfortunately it ended there in the 80's :banghead:

They are doing great in the sever market... well good at the moment. But that's hardware, and most of it runs MS software. IBM has an intrinsically horrible track record in software, - going back 20 yrs!!!

I am not an MS (monpoly) fan, trust me.
Bill Gates would disagree.

Gates sees IBM as top Microsoft rival
Posted on Reply
#22
panchoman
Sold my stars!
ibm's doing preety good, though they're really into research and server stuff now. they helped build and produce the cell cpu used in the ps3, and other things like that. my dad works at ibm research and that place can get really scary if you back through the back end of the building alone, theres like hissing nitrogen pipes and all kinds of weird stuff doing over your head. its really weird, its like a scientific lab while its a workplace while its got like rooms full of servers and servers and servers. and they're probably the biggest threat to ms since most apples are running windows now a days. due to the european case thing microsoft has to reveal all of its server stuff to ibm and other companies in europe and it wont take very long for ibm to beat microsoft in the server market.
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#24
Polaris573
Senior Moderator
Since he's one of the richest people on the planet, yes, I think I would. I guarantee he knows more about what goes on at IBM than you do. As well as whether they're a significant competitor to Microsoft.
Posted on Reply
#25

Open Office is a very good open source package, only rival to MS Office and it's completely free even for commercial use.

I have both installed.
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