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IBM Lotus Symphony

IBM Releases Office Desktop Software at No Charge to Foster Collaboration and Innovation

New York, NY, USA. September 17, 2007.

As part of its investment in the next wave of collaboration technology, IBM today released IBM Lotus Symphony, a suite of free software tools for creating and sharing documents, spreadsheets and presentations.

Beginning today at, business, academic, governmental, and consumer users alike can download this enterprise-grade office software, which is the same tool inside some of IBM's most popular collaboration products, such as the recently released Lotus Notes 8. In addition, these tools can be used to seamlessly extend a business process or custom application to create dynamic composite applications.

There are three core applications that make up the Lotus Symphony tools: Lotus Symphony Documents, Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets, and Lotus Symphony Presentations. These software tools are intuitive to use, support Windows and Linux desktops and are designed to handle the majority of office productivity tasks that workers typically perform. Lotus Symphony supports multiple file formats including Microsoft Office and Open Document Format (ODF), and also can output content in PDF format.

Increasingly, users of productivity software are challenging the confines of the desktop. IBM Lotus Symphony provides a fresh, people-oriented way to create, contribute and reuse content instantly, across a wide range of applications. In addition, because it is based on ODF, Lotus Symphony allows organizations to access, use and maintain all their documents for the long-term, without worrying about ongoing software licensing and royalty fees.

"IBM is committed to opening office desktop productivity applications just as we helped open enterprise computing with Linux," said Steve Mills, senior vice president , IBM Software Group. "The lifeblood of any organization is contained in thousands of documents. When those documents are based on proprietary software, only future versions of the same software will be able to access that intelligence. This dynamic forces companies to keep paying license and maintenance fees to the same vendor for a basic commodity. Now businesses can unlock their critical office information free of the costs and controls of any vendor." Mills added, "It's not about the document on the desktop anymore. It's all about making information universally accessible and putting it to work on any platform and on the Web in highly flexible ways."

Last week, IBM announced its membership in and intent to make important technical and resource contributions. By teaming with the community to accelerate the rate of innovation in the office productivity marketplace, IBM expects this will improve its ability to deliver innovative value to users of IBM products and services. This will lead to an even broader range of solutions and ODF-supporting applications, such as ISO 26300, that draw from the technology.

While the most common office document tools represent basic functionality, IBM Lotus Symphony provides a unique capability consistent with IBM's strategy to help people find new ways to work together. The no-charge IBM Lotus Symphony allows for the integration of editor functionality into their everyday desktop and business applications.

For example, IBM Lotus Symphony may be able to help businesses complete tasks more rapidly and efficiently by connecting to relevant information from a variety of sources. Companies can integrate IBM Lotus Symphony tools into their custom applications and easily connect to myriad data sources to create composite applications. These rich applications enable users to work in a single view, and present data from multiple sources instantly. In one scenario, ERP systems can be linked directly into the user's workspace. The user can submit queries to an ERP system which will respond with the requested data. This is delivered to the user's workspace where IBM Lotus Symphony Documents automatically populates the fields in a customer's shipping invoice. All of this can be accomplished immediately with the user having a consistent consolidated view of the task at hand. Keeping the focus on this consolidated workspace may lead to improved user productivity.

IBM Lotus Symphony gives users the freedom to create and share information, as well as assemble composite applications that link to business processes. These new innovations are helping people manage the blending of work and home, software and service, internal and external collaboration.


From the General FAQs Document

How is Lotus Symphony different?

You're in charge! Lotus Symphony is based on the Open Document Format (ODF) standard-which means you're not locked into proprietary file formats, software licensing agreements and upgrades. Finally, free tools and freedom of choice!

Can Lotus Symphony handle my existing files?

With Lotus Symphony, you can import, edit and save a variety of file formats including Microsoft Office files. You can even export your documents to Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). The tools work with computers running both Microsoft Windows and Linux- environments, with support for Apple Macintosh planned for the future.

Why is IBM releasing stand alone IBM Lotus Symphony?

Lotus Symphony is a set of applications for creating, editing, and sharing word processing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Designed to handle the majority of tasks that end users perform, Lotus Symphony supports the Open Document Format (ODF) giving organizations the ability to access, use, and maintain their documents over the long term without concern about end of life uncertainties or ongoing software licensing and royalty fees.

Note: For many end users and organizations, Lotus Symphony is a viable alternative to purchasing, deploying, and managing typical vendor-proprietary productivity suites.

What are the benefits of ODF?

ODF is important and valuable because it provides choice, cost effectiveness, and control over the use of your documents and the intellectual property they contain. ODF enables efficient interchange of information between various parts of an organization and between organizations. By using tools that support ODF, customers are not locked into one particular vendor for their IBM Lotus Symphony. ODF helps provide interoperability and flexibility. Adopting ODF-supporting applications in your business or service means you are not required to purchase an application from a single vendor in order to share and communicate your document data.

Will all Microsoft Office documents convert exactly?

Not entirely. Some advanced features such as embedded macros are not supported. There may be other conversion issues. Please report any issues in the Issues and Troubleshooting forums at Support Forum...

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive.

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