back to article IBM floats Microsoft Office web challenger

IBM is gunning for Microsoft's multi–billion dollar Office franchise with a hosted incarnation of its personal productivity suite built on OpenOffice. On Monday, IBM announced a cloud edition of its Symphony suite in a broad push to take business from Microsoft's $14bn-plus Office and email business. Symphony is also intended …


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  1. pan2008

    basic maths anyone?

    IBM apps suitable for people who can't do basic maths (that includes loads of managers unfortnately). 3 * 12 = 36 per year.

    36 * 5 = $180 for 5 years to store my documents on a ibm server somewhere! how about wheh the internet goes down? I think I stay where I am, it's even cheaper to buy the license of a certain bit of software for ever! or something else for free (for ever again).

    Thinking about it, maye not!

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      and also

      Most people are still happily using Office 2003. Continuing to use that costs nothing.

  2. Chris Miller


    The article says: "starts at 5MB" - surely that should be 5GB, I've got Word docs >5MB. The IBM web site is spectacularly unhelpful (as in so much else) in resolving this question ...

  3. kiwi8mail

    I stopped reading at the word "Lotus"

    As a former victim of a workplace where Lotus Notes was used, I can personally testify to how much anything with a “Lotus-“ prefix raises my blood pressure.

    Aren’t they aware how much that word is poison to many people out there?!

    1. DrXym


      I'm using Lotus Notes 7, a product allegedly released in 2007. I've never encountered such a user hostile POS as this. It's like some developers found a box full of Common User Architecture documents from 1985, tossed them all up in the air and implemented Notes from the documents they managed to catch. Words like awful, wretched, broken, frustration, misery, despair, all leap to mind when using it.

    2. Fatman

      RE: ...former victim of a workplace...

      Are you sure that you did not intend to write:

      "as a refugee from the dungeon" instead????

      While I have not had the unfortunate 'privilege' of "experiencing the `joy` of using Lotus Notes"; I have known some who have. To say that they have suffered `mental cruelty`, is an understatement.

    3. dogged


      It's _ALMOST_ as awful as SAP.

  4. Vic

    That looks mighty dodgy...

    According to the FAQ at , "Lotus Symphony is based on the open source code". is distributed under the LGPL; the LGPL makes certain requirements of any redistributors - largely along the lines of the GPL, but it also permits redistributors to ship LGPL code with proprietary code, so long as the LGPL portion remains a separate library under the LGPL licence.

    So far, so good. Except that if you try to download Symphony from the IBM download site at , it requires you to sign up to IBM's International License Agreement for Non-Warranted Programs - .

    This has some very interesting phrases in it such as "the backup copy does not execute unless the backed-up Program cannot execute", "Licensee ensures that anyone who uses the Program ...) does so only on Licensee's behalf", and "Licensee does not ... sublicense, rent, or lease the Program".

    It also says "This Agreement ... is the complete agreement between Licensee and IBM regarding the use of the Program".

    This looks remarkably like a LGPL violation. That's impressive - the LGPL is one of the easiest licences around in terms of compliance, but at first sight. IBM seem to be doing the dirty on this one...


    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Andrew Baines Silver badge


    Lotus 123 - Don't you still need DOS for that?

  6. James 47

    F**k you, IBM

    Synergy, Lotus Notes, Rational Change...

    F**k you!

  7. Maria Helm

    maths & living in the past

    RE: Maths - I'm not sure, but I think the benefit is intended for corporations who buy MS Office "packs" for lots of employees. This keeps them from shelling out upfront. These are also typically places that will have bigger problems if their internet access goes down. Might also be a good idea for small businesses, since the initial cost layout is lower and licenses can be added, or removed, individually as employees needs dictate.

    RE: Several comments (and more to come, I am sure) about "I USED to work somewhere that had Lotus Notes" and also "Lotus 123". Lotus 123/SmartSuite hasn't been around for a while. Symphony replaced that offering several years back. Domino/Lotus Notes has also gone through multiple upgrades/reincarnations. Additionally, your company's Domino/Lotus Notes implementation was only as good as the people they hired to administer/develop it. A lot of companies in that era installed Notes and expected their MS-trained employees to automatically know what to do with it. (I know, I was one.)

    So if you aren't commenting upon a VERSION 8.0 HIGHER, JOIN THE NEW MILLENIUM. That was two decades back. We can ALL complain about what crap software our company had in the LATE ' matter what vendor it was from.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    IBM Lotus & Donkeys


    Here I was getting ready to make some fairly prejudicial statements about the crap nature of anything I've ever experienced from IBM bearing the name Lotus AND expecting to have to defend said statements to a bunch of fan boys. Sweet, I'm not the only one that things their product line could choke a donkey. A VERY deep throated donkey.

  9. DavidShepherd


    Interesting to see another option in the war of Cloud productivity apps.

    Are they seriously providing 5MB not GB???

    Also will be watching to see how easy it is to use etc. Past experiences with IBM products have been complex to speak nicely...

  10. Don Mitchell

    History lesson

    IBM trying to come back is like unearthing a Balrog, some ancient evil from the distant past. We can thank IBM for one thing, being naive enough to make the PC an open hardware platform. They seem to still hate and blame Microsoft for the fact that they never really cashed in on the PC, but in retrospect it is a good thing they did not do as Apple did and make it a close platform. Ultimately, even Apple had to adopt it.

  11. dssf

    (IBM) (Lotus) SmartSuite

    What about Lotus SmartSuite?

    I wish that IBM would have not taken the lazy way out on Word Pro and Lotus Approach. Kexi is set to grow, but it is in KOffice. Open Office? Meh... Approach could probably STILL win awards for ease of use and flexibility if IBM gave a frack about it. But, it appears IBM didn't want Approach used in concert with 1-2-3 and Word Pro or else some cannibalization might occur.

    I - AM - STILL - INCENSED that IBM can't figure out the relevant valid shareholders of the earlier Lotus intellectual property. I'm still fuming that they didn't save time and money from 2004 onwards when they had a chance to offer the IBM-owned portions of S/S to Open Source devs. A decompiled, Non-IBM-IP-free version of SS could have been resurrected in months, if not weeks, and it could have eclipsed even Open Office, if IBM wanted it to.

    WYSIWYG in Lotus Approach rules. It's too bad true development on most of Smart Suite died around 1997 or so.

  12. alex dekker 1


    An whole article, but no link to a demo site, download page, press release, nothing.

  13. Hans 1

    Notes was bad? Since when?

    I used Lotus Notes at work and really enjoyed it at the time, it even ran on my Ti PowerBook, back then.

    It was so much more powerful than FOutlook ... one feature, for example, was the out of office message, that would stop being sent at the specified date - a simple no -brainer! It took MS another 7 years to copy that. The browser in Notes was really bad, but who used that?

    Ok, it was hard to learn ... I guess the guyz moaning are ie users who don't know how to use vi, sed or awk because they do not take the time to learn it ... and moan when they have complex text formatting or complex search/replace stuff to do and spend days at it ... I see you guyz at work all the time ... moaners ... already told the manager I would write a simple shell script to replace you lot, if only I had the time!

    BTW, I was replaced by four people when I left the Lotus Notes shop ... and all I was asking for was a pay rise. If only managers could learn how to count or at least use Excel properly!

    Oh, and if you have ie your opinion ...

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Sym- phony

    Don't touch this sh*t. It is grade 'A' cr*p.

    I used to work for ibm and they attempted to force people to use it. It was based on an older version of open office and was rubbish. It couldn't open edit and save M$ word documents successfully. You would get a document from a client update it and send it back and all they got was garbage.

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