Following our recent analysis of the MS Office suite coming under attack from both IBM and startups, IBM today unveiled the next step in their (perhaps) evil plan to take Microsoft head-on in this market.
They have built a series of “Office” equivalents — a word processor, a spreadsheet and a presentation tool, and are releasing it under the (ressurected) brand of Lotus Symphony. The products are based on top of the OpenOffice source-code, and their biggest marketing pitch with these (the USP or differentiating factors) seem to be the Open-Document Format which is open, free, democratic, environmentally friendly compared to Microsoft’s closed formats that are evil, demeaning, polluting, (terroristic?)
It’s funny how the world turns — Lotus Symphony was first released back in the DOS-based days when Lotus-1-2-3 was the reigning champion of all spreadsheet software because of its spreadsheet + database + graphical forms integration.
For almost two decades IBM has seen no inroads to try and tackle this market again, but finally in 2007 with adequate demand for high-integration among enterprise software, widespread recognition and usage of the ODF format in online services and in complimentary startup products, and consumer interest in atleast exploring alternatives (owing to Microsoft’s tactical mistake of revamping the MSOffice UI which is frustrating many users), there seems to be a chance for Symphony again.
Here’s the killer part of this deal… Lotus Symphony is free.
Any budding-analysts want to try and figure out what IBM is trying to achieve with this move (in terms of real-dollar benefit to business?)
Go ahead, give me your analysis in the comments. Remember, G&W is read by editors and related people from Techdirt, Computerworld and a number of
other technology focused journals in the UK and USA, so its a good way of highlighting your analytical skills. Awaiting your analysis.