The VAR Guy

June 4, 2008

1 Min Read
Lotus Symphony: Music to The VAR Guy's Ears

Software competition on the desktop continues to increase. The latest example includes Lotus Symphony, a free IBM software suite that could give Microsoft Office a run for its money in selected business settings.  After introducing Symphony as a free Internet download last year, IBM is now back — offering annual Symphony support contracts at the flat rate of $25,000. Suite! Er, sweet! Here’s why.

Linux and Mac OS X have successfully restored desktop competition at the operating system level. But at the application level, alternatives to Microsoft Office face plenty of pushback.

Sure, Google Apps has had some limited success (especially on college campuses), but some skeptics consider those apps too limited.

Ideally, Sun Microsystems would fill the void by promoting its own OpenOffice open source suite far more aggressively. But Sun has its hands full trying to boost server sales amid skepticism from Wall Street investors.

Then there’s Lotus Symphony, a nice little free suite. Ma Yue, chief architect for the IBM software suite, is earning respect in developer circles and recently landed on the MSPmentor 250 nominee list, which highlights thought leaders who are helping to define next-generation markets like managed services, software as a service and Web 2.0 applications.

At $25,000 a year for support, IBM is hoping Lotus Symphony will catch on within midsize and large enterprises. The VAR Guy doesn’t think that will happen anytime soon. Unless, of course, IBM partners up with hardware suppliers and open source advocates who further bolster Symphony.

However, it’s nice to see (and hear) Lotus Symphony creating even more customer choice on the desktop.

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