IBM starts to turn away from Microsoft Office
IBM's management has told 20,000 employees to change from Microsoft Office to Lotus Symphony, its own open source office suite. The aim, according to an email seen by heise online, is to point out the "enormous potential of co-operation-based innovation". The two authors of the email, IBM's Chief Information Officer (CIO) Mark Hennessy and Gina Poole, the manager responsible for social software, say that the package, based on the freely available OpenOffice office software, will be integrated into other Web 2.0 applications already used at Big Blue.
IBM has a total of around 388,000 employees, 37,000 of whom run their own blogs while 214,000 use a wiki or some collaborative software. According to the email, 20,000 "early adopters" have been chosen from the IT environment to test Lotus Symphony, on the grounds that they are used to innovative technologies and will prepare the ground for wider acceptance throughout the company. Symphony will now give them an opportunity to use special plug-ins on their own PCs to co-operatively extend the process of working on text documents, spreadsheets and presentations, to create mashups and to facilitate the sharing of information with colleagues and partners. Support for the ISO-certified Open Document Format (ODF) also means that assets are no longer dependent on the program with which they were generated.
In late May, IBM made its Lotus Symphony product available to download free of charge. The package contains the Documents word processor, Spreadsheets, and Presentations, respectively corresponding with the OpenOffice modules Writer, Calc and Impress. The freely available Office suite's Base database program, Math formula editor and Draw program are omitted. IBM says it has improved the productivity and speed of its office software.