Lotus Symphony is back -- this time as a re-branded release of open source stalwart OpenOffice. According to a press release quoted at RealTechNews, the office suite (including Symphony Documents, Symphony Spreadsheets and Symphony Presentations) is available for download at IBM's Web site.
RealTechNews writer Michael Santos isn't all that impressed:
OpenOffice has failed to dent Microsoft's monopoly on office suite software to any large extent and honestly, I doubt backing by IBM will make much of a difference. To be honest, nothing IBM has ever put out (software-wise), before or after the Lotus acquisition, has ever excited me. This probably won't do much for me, either.
ZDNet's Paula Rooney isn't jazzed either, but she pinpoints the problem: Without e-mail and other collaboration components, Lotus Symphony is "a yawn."
Let's face it: Lotus Notes is the crown jewel in IBM's software productivity portfolio. Neither Lotus SmartSuite nor IBM's Workplace components ever made a dent in Microsoft's Office monopoly, and Symphony will likely follow the same path...
Rooney says an IBM representative told her there are "no plans to release a Symphony Notes or calendaring component in the forseeable future."
So here's my question -- If IBM isn't trying to take market share from Microsoft Office, what's the point? How does the company benefit from the release?