IBM today released IBM Lotus Symphony (da da da daa, da da da daa), a suite of free software tools for creating and sharing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations downloadable from our Web site.
And the timing couldn't be more perfect: A day after Yahoo buys Zimbra for $350M in cash, and the same day Google offers up its Google Presently app via Google Documents.
The code base for Symphony is based on OpenOffice.org, which last week IBM announced it would formally be joining and dedicating 35 full-time programmers to.
This is obviously a great -- and much, much cheaper -- alternative to Microsoft Office (which even we IBMers use frequently, although I suspect that could now change??), and it comes complete with spreadsheet, word processor, and presentation package.
But having just downloaded an internal beta of Lotus Notes 8 myself, I think the much bigger story here is the opportunity for more seamless integration and collaboration.
On my new Lotus Notes 8 desktop, I was able to launch the new presentation applications from within the confines of my Notes 8 desktop, which is also replete with easy access to my Sametime Instant Messaging, my "Activities" box, my Notes calendar (where I can watch my day dwindle away with endless conference calls), and even a new RSS Feed which, as an information junkie, I'm totally digging. I don't have to launch into another app to get to the stuff I use the most. Huge time saver.
But enough of my commercial. I'm obviously biased.
Check out the even more unbiased view of this announcement from IBM Lotus sales guru Ed Brill.