Symphony 1.3 is readyhttp://finance.yahoo.com/news/IBM-Unleashes-New-Symphony-prnews-1726643700.html?x=0&.v=1
- This could translate
into millions of dollars in savings at many large companies that are
looking for financial relief in the current economy.
- Can import Microsoft Office 2007 files into Symphony
- Offers DataPilot Table improvements that make it
easy to drill down and analyze data
- Enhances mail merge and
envelope printing for organizations that need simple, efficient ways to
communicate with their customers
- Provides animation
to add sizzle to presentations and interoperate with Microsoft
users to drag-and-drop plug-ins, extending its use to other business
applications. For example, a new learning plug-in can be installed on
the right sidebar to help people learn new Symphony capabilities in
fixed costs in challenging times is important to Cluttons, a
partnership of chartered surveyors, founded in 1765. Through a network
of offices in the U.K., Europe, Middle East, South Africa and the
Caribbean, Cluttons offer a very wide range of professional property
management, agency and consultancy services across the commercial and
residential sectors, for both investors and occupiers. In recent years,
Cluttons delivered Microsoft Windows desktop, including Microsoft
Office, IBM Lotus Notes and business applications to its users via a
virtualized environment based on Citrix. Now it plans to switch from
Office to Symphony, used with Lotus Notes 8.5.
Cluttons IT Director, stated, "The opportunity to use fully supported
office productivity tools as part of the deployment of Lotus Notes 8.5
was too good an opportunity to be missed. We plan to use the cost
saving to further invest in Lotus productivity tool sets."
John Lewis Partnership
Symphony customer, The John Lewis Partnership (JLP), owns the leading
U.K. retail businesses Waitrose, John Lewis and Greenbee. All 69,000 of
its permanent staff are partners who own 27 John Lewis department
stores, 210 Waitrose supermarkets (www.waitrose.com), an online and catalogue business, johnlewis.com (www.johnlewis.com), a direct services company, Greenbee (www.greenbee.com), a production unit and a farm with nearly £6.9 billion in revenue in 2008.
was determined to control costs within a competitive retail environment
to deliver first-class service and products to John Lewis customers. It
plans to deploy Symphony to approximately 8,000 employees. Providing
Microsoft Office to all staff in John Lewis Department Stores was
evaluated, but determined to be cost-prohibitive."
Last week I blogged about US Federal government organizations Department of Transportation and FAA banning Windows Vista, Explorer 7, and Office 2007 upgrades. Its the turn of NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), part of US Department of Commerce, this week. According to InformationWeek (http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=198000229 ), "NIST has banned Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system from its internal computing networks".
See this article in Informationweek: http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=197700789
"Citing concerns over cost and compatibility, the top technology official at the federal Department of Transportation has placed a moratorium on all in-house computer upgrades to Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system, as well as Internet Explorer 7 and Office 2007".
"The DOT's ban on Vista, Internet Explorer 7, and Office 2007 applies to 15,000 computer users at DOT proper who are currently running the Windows XP Professional operating system. The memo indicates that a similar ban is in effect at the Federal Aviation Administration, which has 45,000 desktop users."
Meanwhile, the State of California legislature is considering has drafted legislation that would mandate adoption of ODF (http://news.com.com/California+may+adopt+OpenDocument/2100-7344_3-6163186.html)
And the IT Director for Germany's Foreign Ministry reports in Heise magazine that per-user licensing costs for its employees, who all use Open Office, is only 1,190 Euro. Other German ministries, which use Microsoft Office, tend to spend more than double that amount, or even as much as 5000 Euro. http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/85977/from/rss09
And South Africa government is moving to open source: http://www.tectonic.co.za/view.php?id=1377
Interested in IBM open client solution? Check this out: http://www.ibm.com/lotus/openclient
I have been reading several articles in Businessweek questioning the readiness of Vista and Office 2007 (http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/nov2006/tc20061129_739121.htm ) and some of the design quirks - how many geeks does it take to shut off a computer (http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/dec2006/tc20061201_625122.htm?chan=technology_technology+index+page_software ).
Then I came across this article (http://www.cbronline.com/article_news.asp?guid=61A19824-89F8-4649-82F7-3062481BA64B ) about BECTA (the UK government agency responsible for technology used in education) warning against deploying Vista and Office 2007, "noting that for Vista especially 'the risks are high, and the benefits are far from clear."
And while we have blogged about the "cost" of upgrading to Vista, today I came across this IDC study: "for every dollar spent on Vista a partner will earn $18 from hardware upgrades, other software additions and services." (http://www.itbusiness.ca/it/client/en/home/News.asp?id=41800&cid=10 )
But then many governments appear to have figured this out already through interoperability frameworks and adoption of ODF (Open Document Format) and Linux - the most recent being State of Tamil Nadu in India (http://www.skyscrapercity.com/archive/index.php?t-368794.html ) and Province of Misiones in Argentina (http://www.misiones.gov.ar/egov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=132&Itemid=9 ).
Here is a summary of the government adoption of ODF:
a. Seven National governments:
- Brazil, France, Germany have released Interoperability Frameworks calling out ODF
- Belgium, Croatia, and Norway recognize ODF/open standards in Fedral Government ICT guidance or policy papers
- Denmark made a parlimentary decision on the need for open standards in digital exchanges
b. Two country national standard bodies
- Italy approved ODF as a National Standard
- Malaysia is in the process to do likewise
c. Four Regional Governments:
- Extremadura, Spain has agreed to use ODF for document exchange
- Hong Kong, China recognizes ODF in its interoperability framework
- Tamil Nadu, India
- Province of Misiones, Argentina
d. Four governments have sponsored ODF focused events:
- India, Malaysia, Poland, Thailand
e. EU's DG Enterprise/IDABC published its recommendations on ODF ( http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/servlets/Doc?id=26844 )
In addition to policy decisions, nearly 50 federal agencies and state/local bodies across the globe are using office applications that support ODF. See http://opendocumentfellowship.org/government/precedent
Many governments have proceeded further, with adoption of Linux as the operating system of choice.
Let us take India for example: The state of Kerala moved 12500 schools to Linux few months back. The State of Tamil Nadu home to a population the size of the UK, is in the process of deploying 32,600 Linux desktop systems and training 30,000 government officials (http://mandriva.blogspot.com/2007/01/tamil-nadu-india-may-shut-door-on.html ). The governments of seven states, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal were running their treasury applications on Linux. The Provident Fund application of Bihar, the Secretariat in Mizoram, the Stamp Duty application in Andhra Pradesh, the Land Record application of Maharashtra, the RTOs of all the North Eastern states; Linux found several takers in many states across the country. The Central Government was not lagging behind-the innovative ePost project of the Post & Telegraph department, the IndiaGov portal and various other applications of the Election Commission, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor and Ministry of External Affairs were also running open source software. (http://www.dqindia.com/content/DQTop20_2006/employers06/2006/106090601.asp ).
Meanwhile, in Europe, the city of Amsterdam (in collaboration with 7 other cities) will conduct tests of open source software on desktops in two departments in the first half of 2007 (http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/0,1000000121,39285307,00.htm ). Austria's capital city Vienna is in the midst of linux desktop rollout.
I already blogged on State of Indiana in the US (http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/showstory.cfm?ArticleID=5819 ).
And IBM is offering flexibility and choice to customers: Run Notes, Sametime, Expeditor, ODF compliant productivity editors on Windows, Linux, Mac, from a memory stick, DVD, etc.
Check this out. The French parliament is following France's Gendarmes and Ministry of Culture and Communications to switch from Windows to Linux client workstations running open source software.
Good news for 16 million Lotus Sametime users and potential new customers. IBM announced the availability of Lotus Sametime 7.5 unified business communications platform earlier this week (Sept 13th 2006).
Based on the open and flexible Eclipse framework, with web 2.0 capabilities, this is indeed a game changing application!
We are approaching 100 IBM Business Partners building solutions based on Lotus Sametime 7.5, with nearly 30 of them already featured in the Lotus Sametime Virtual Partner Showcase http://www.ibm.com/software/lotus/partnershowcase/sametime.
At the Sametime Real-Time. Right-Now launch event we demonstrated examples, ranging from plugins with Cisco to see your contact's phone availability, to Radvision's multi-party audio/video conferencing session.
Look at some of the press around this announcement:
IBM Beats Microsoft to Meeting Space By: Michael Hickins, September 13, 2006: http://www.internetnews.com/ent-news/article.php/3631911
IBM Lotus Sametime Challenges Microsoft for New Market, By: Stan Gibson, September 13, 2006: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2015716,00.asp
View the webcast and see Lotus Sametime 7.5 in action for yourself: http://www-142.ibm.com/software/sw-lotus/products/product3.nsf/wdocs/rtrneventbasic So, how is this different from Microsoft's unified communication announcements over the last three months, including the strategic relationship with Nortel?
- Lotus Sametime 7.5 is based on open standards that offer flexibility and choice.
- Leveraging open source Eclipse framework helps ISVs rapidly deliver plug-play components that complements Sametime services
- This is available TODAY. So customers need not wait for 2007.
- Solutions with Lotus Sametime 7.5 include Avaya (IP Telephony), Avistar Communications (Video Conferencing), Nortel (Voice, video, audio conferencing and mobility options), Phonesoft (voice messaging), RIM (audio and video conferencing)...
Are you an IBM Lotus business partner who will be in town (Boston) on July 11th? Maybe you are a Microsoft business partner attending the Velocity 2006 conference in Boston? Want to figure out a better way to partner? with IBM Lotus?
Come join IBM Lotus executives at Anthony's Pier 4 on July 11th 6-9PM est.
Get a sneak peak of Lotus Sametime 7.5, WebSphere Portal 6.0. Play with Linux laptops running Lotus Notes, Sametime, and Productivity editors!
Grab the invitation from here: ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/software/lotus/lotusweb/Invite.pdf
Check out http://www.ibm.com/lotus/abetterway
Check out this article in eWeek: Playing the Standards Game the Microsoft Way (http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1985410,00.asp) by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols July 6, 2006!
"The Redmond crew has an entirely different agenda for "supporting" the OpenDocument Format with its own Open XML Translator.
It's not even news, actually, according to Andrew Updegrove, a partner with Boston law firm Gesmer Updegrove, and the editor of http://www.ConsortiumInfo.org . "Microsoft's announcement on plug-ins is being treated in the press as 'new news,'" Updegrove said. "Ray Ozzie actually let slip mention of the project last October, and an open-source converter project was started by the same French company last September 26." ....
There are two key phrases here. The first is "third-party." Jason Matusow, Microsoft's director of standards affairs, came right out and said Microsoft was not contributing code or providing architectural guidance for Open XML Translator. The OpenDocument Foundation says it will provide a plug-in that will allow Office users to open, render and save to ODF files. ....
Why, oh why, do I think that Translator's technical support line will often be telling users that the fault for a botched document transfer lies at ODF's door? And somehow I think Microsoft's technical support's usual suggested "fix" will be to just use Microsoft's own Open XML instead. "It's so much better," they'll say to annoyed users.
What could Microsoft do if it were really interested in supporting open standards? Easy: Bake ODF import and export support into Office 2007. This? This Translator support is just another trap to keep users locked into Microsoft Office. "
More FACTS (http://sourceforge.net/projects/odf-converter ):
Only available for Word so far. Nothing for Excel or Powerpoint.Only supports import of ODF files for now. Support for writing ODF word processor documents will not be seen until October.Plan is to issue final 1.0 version of the Word convertor (import/export) by December 30th. No plan stated for Excel or PowerPointThe tool pre-req's Word 2007. Behind the scenes, it is converting from ODF to Office Open XML. So this will only work and be relevant to those using the beta version of Word 2007. Microsoft should be able to retrofit this to work with Office 2003 as well (using something called the "compatibility kit" which they were already planning to support Ecma Office Open XML in Office 2003) they have no plans to bring ODF compatibility to earlier versions of Office (Office 97-XP).The UI integration is clumsy. For example, it brings ODF documents into Word as read-only documents and does not allow you to save back to the ODF document. It isn't integrated into the standard File Open dialog, but appears in its own "ODF" menu. The code is implemented in Microsoft's C# programming language. It is interesting to note that C# (pronounced "C sharp") was submitted by Microsoft for standardization to Ecma in 2000 where it went through Ecma and then ISO. Six years have based since C# was born. Where are the interoperable implementations? What makes us think that Office Open XML will fare any better? (http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=169337&package_id=196249)It also pre-req's the .NET 2.0 runtime, an additional 22MB download. It is odd that even on an up-to-date XP desktop with the Office 2007 beta on it, I did not have a sufficiently recent .NET runtime. I needed to download and install it.
Those following my blog would have read about several governments adopting ODF associated policies ( http://www-03.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/AntonySatyadas?entry=belgian_government_adopts_odf_open ), ISO voting ODF as an international standard, as well as Microsoft pursuing Open XML as the standard with ECMA standards group.
Here is an interesting Microsoft press release: http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/060706/sfth055.html?.v=65 that announces Microsoft sponsored open source project for Open XML - ODF File Translation (http://sourceforge.net/projects/odf-converter ).
Check out this piece in Bob suitor's blog calling out some of the FUD! http://www.sutor.com/newsite/blog-open/?p=783
Key FUD items
- FUD: "Open XML and ODF are designed to meet very different customer requirements"
FUD: "Open XML formats are unique in their compatibility and fidelity to billions of Office documents, helping protect customers intellectual investments"
- Fact: The primary difference is that Open XML are designed for those who use Microsoft spreadsheet, word processor, presentation!
FUD: "In contrast, ODF focuses on more limited requirements, is architected very differently and is now under review in OASIS subcommittees to fill key gaps such as spreadsheet formulas, macro support and support for accessibility options."
- Fact: There are virtually no documents in existence that use the Open XML formats; any existing binary Office documents will have to be translated to it, warts and all, including every odd subformat that has been tried through the years, successful or not.
- Fact: ODF is under active development by a worldwide community of experts not under the control of a single vendor who are making it state of the art in such areas as accessibility!
What does this do to Office 2007 release dates? No Impact?
Well, more product delays, MS Office once again! So what? This is not the first time, Do you think this will be the last time?
CNN: "Microsoft faces a tough challenge in convincing users to upgrade from previous versions of Office, which may seem just fine to many users"! http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/ptech/06/29/microsoft.office.ap/index.html
Gartner has also commented on this - see my previous blog entry: http://www-03.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/AntonySatyadas?entry=office_upgrade_hard_to_justify
According to news.com (http://news.com.com/Microsoft+delays+Office+2007+again/2100-1012_3-6089694.html?tag=nefd.top )
"Gartner analyst Michael Silver noted that the delay in Office could hit some businesses hard, particularly those that signed volume license contracts in late 2003. Such Enterprise Agreement or Software Assurance contracts offer, among other things, the right to any new versions of the product that come out over a period of time, typically three years."
If you read that and then the recent article by Ephraim Schwartz on Microsoft Enterprise Agreement from InfoWorld (http://www-03.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/AntonySatyadas?entry=innovation_has_moved_off_the ) which is also available in the InfoWorld newsletter (http://newsletter.infoworld.com/t?ctl=12D356D:1F4EFDF ),
And read additional facts such as Vista delay, cost of upgrade! (http://www-03.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/AntonySatyadas?entry=supercomputer_pc_to_run_vista ),
And read what BusinessWeek wrote recently about other innovations in the marketplace: Watch your back Microsoft Office (http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jun2006/tc20060628_286363.htm?sub=techmaven ),
it can lead you to
imagining a day without Microsoft: (http://www-03.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/AntonySatyadas?entry=imagining_a_day_without_microsoft )