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Friday, November 16, 2007

IBM's Hosted Symphony: Will Anyone Listen?

IBM appears to be getting ready to offer its Lotus Symphony suite as a
hosted application, competing directly with Google Apps and Microsoft's
Office Live. Does IBM's entry into the on-demand desktop application
space signal trouble for Office? Microsoft's Office Live strategy is
still primarily focused on small business, for groups of 10 or fewer
users. It's not an enterprise-changing play. Microsoft's enterprise
applications on demand are more in the form of services, not desktop
tools -- Exchange and SharePoint, for example. IBM started giving away
Symphony for free in September, following a similar path to Sun's with
StarOffice, though is admittedly not the same thing as
Sun's commercial release. The chances, however, of a free Symphony
desktop suite displacing Office in the corporate world are close to nil.
And while a hosted version might be interesting to organizations still
using Lotus Notes, it's doubtful that it would upset anyone's applecart,
aside from Google's efforts... In a corporate environment, there's
concern over capturing workflow for compliance and the security of an
Internet-based tool -- which can be solved by hosting internally. But
if you're hosting it internally, you're really just solving one
problem -- software distribution -- and trading it for another set.
Now, you've got to manage the servers, deal with network bandwidth
demands as XML traffic goes up, and shift your storage needs from
network shared drives to server-side storage. That's not to say there
isn't anything interesting about hosted desktop applications. Hundreds
of organizations are already using hosted applications -- through
desktop virtualization via Citrix and Terminal Server.

1 comment:

Luis said...

Have you ever compared side to side OpenOffice and StarOffice?
Your comment about OpenOffice being an inferior producto compared to StarOffice suggest this. Both products are almost identical.