brockmann-symphonyIt's been four months since the last Lotus Symphony entry. The suite of editors for word processing, presentation and spreadsheets have been a free download for IBM since September 2007. 

In that time, over 400,000 downloads have occurred. As well, IBM has released three software updates, including one that expanded the language support to 23 languages. By doing so, IBM has managed to significantly increase the market addressability of the suite.

At Lotusphere today, Jan. 21, 2008, Mike Rhodin, GM Lotus Software mentioned that the reason Lotus did the Symphony initiative, was to accelerate the commoditization of the desktop productivity suite. He felt this category ought to be commoditized. That IBM could accelerate that commoditization process and satisfy user needs and expectations for quality and support.  To help this process along, Mike mentioned that IBM had earlier in the fall changed the software license of Symphony so that business partners could modify the suite, imbed it into their products and NOT pay IBM for doing so.

Leveling the playing field is an important goal of this initiative, and for probably several million users, the suite is doing so. How does Symphony compare to Open Office?

Name Symphony Open Office
Key sponsor IBM Sun
Languages  23 80
Downloads  0.4 million 100 million
Applications 3 6
OS supported 6 2
Date of open source release September 2007 May 2002


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