IBM Corp. will be offering online office productivity applications such as a word processor, spread sheet, and business presentation software, according to various reports.
The package, called Lotus Symphony, will be offered free to download to users, starting Tuesday, said The New York Times.
By this move IBM will once again be competing with Microsoft Corp. in the office applications space.
Google Inc. is also offering a software suite including word processing, spreadsheet and calendar management programs. The company is adding soon a business presentation program to compete with Microsoft’s PowerPoint. However the software and the data generated by users on this software remains online.
The software offered by IBM will be open source software from OpenOffice.org, according to the reports.
Despite IBM’s marketing muscle and a large customer base, the move by IBM may not really cut into Microsoft’s business. OpenOffice has been around free for many years, but its adoption has not been dramatic so far, and comes mainly from open-source die-hards.
Microsoft, planning to stay with its software license revenue model, has pushed a “ software and service” model that requires users to still buy Microsoft Office software and install it on their machines. Microsoft’s Office Live provides online extensions to the software.