IBM is joining the OpenOffice.org development effort, according to News.com. Though the company did not promise to offer OO.o support to its customers, IBM does plan to "make technical contributions to the project" and to use OpenOffice code in its own offerings. Thirty-five IBM employees will work on the project, primarily in an effort to improve its accessibility to users with disabilities, the story says.
Big Blue has been a big supporter of open source since its early days, so the question the announcement raises is not really "Why?" but, "What took so long?" According to Computer Business Review, which points to a project Q&A,
IBM has always supported OpenOffice.org, just on a more informal basis. IBM has seen that the marketplace is beginning to demand ODF in a big way. Approximately 100 million people use the product, and governments everywhere are turning to it. A point has been reached in the popularity of both ODF and OpenOffice.org where IBM and OpenOffice.org believe more can be accomplished by collaborating.