Tuesday, September 18, 2007

IBM drops the other shoe

After joining OpenOffice.org last week, today IBM dropped the other shoe: it’s shipping a new product “Symphony” based on OpenOffice. As InfoWorld notes, it’s the same name IBM used in the 1980s for its integrated office suite.

IBM’s effort will help promote its long-standing support for the Open Document Format (ODF). To me, it seems a little like an exit strategy (growth strategy? salvage strategy?) for the increasingly irrelevant Lotus division.

The biggest omission is that Symphony lacks e-mail to compete with Microsoft’s Entourage. How hard would it be to find an open source e-mail client to integrate? The Mozilla Thunderbird project is one such example, and late last month the Qualcomm-sponsored Penelope project released a new skin providing Eudora features to Thunderbird users.

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