IBM is now giving away its Lotus Symphony product for free. Not "free" as in open source, but rather as in "Please take since people won't pay for it," as only a few hundred thousand downloads have been registered since September 2007.
The gesture is intended to take away money from Microsoft - probably a losing cause going head-to-head on Microsoft's territory - but also to provide a platform upon which to sell IBM's collaboration software. This second strategy has a better chance of success, but would be much better off it didn't first require enterprises to adopt Lotus Symphony because, quite frankly, they won't.
A much better route would be to a) extend from Microsoft Office (though this is fraught with problems because Microsoft controls the platform) or b) shift the battle to new terrain that Microsoft doesn't own, as Google has.
If I were a betting man, I'd lay my money on email as the disruptive platform that IBM should build upon, and I don't mean it's widely used by hugely clunky Domino/Lotus Notes combo. I mean Zimbra or Mozilla's new email push.… Read more