IBM and Google take aim at Microsoft's Office dominance
Wednesday, 19 September 2007, 07:00 Hrs
San Francisco: More bad news for Microsoft. A day after it was slapped with a damaging anti-trust ruling in the European Union, the software giant is facing increased competition for its Office suite cash. On Tuesday, Google and IBM both announced that they are intensifying efforts to challenge Microsoft's Office suite, which dominates the market for productivity software on office and home computers. IBM announced the release of Lotus Symphony, a portfolio of free software tools for creating and sharing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Made up of Lotus Symphony Documents, Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets and Lotus Symphony Presentations, the tools support Windows and Linux desktops and are designed to handle the majority of office tasks that workers typically perform. Lotus Symphony also supports multiple file formats including Microsoft Office and ODF (Open Document Format), and can also output content in the popular PDF format. "IBM is committed to opening office desktop productivity applications just as we helped open enterprise computing with Linux," Steve Mills, senior vice president of IBM Software Group, said in a statement. "The lifeblood of any organisation 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," he said. "This dynamic forces companies to keep paying licence 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." Google added to Microsoft's woes with a new presentation feature for its popular Google Docs applications suite. Designed to compete with Microsoft's Power Point, the new feature allows presentations to be edited collaboratively in real time. Users can follow along as a presenter goes through a slideshow, while they chat via Google Talk. The presentation feature is available in 25 languages.