Challengers Trumpet Microsoft Office Compatibility - InformationWeek

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6/19/2009
05:42 PM
Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul
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Challengers Trumpet Microsoft Office Compatibility

From IBM's Lotus Symphony to eXPresso collaboration, alternatives to Microsoft Office are scrambling to improve compatibility with Office formats.

From IBM's Lotus Symphony to eXPresso collaboration, alternatives to Microsoft Office are scrambling to improve compatibility with Office formats.Just yesterday, IBM released a new version of its Lotus Symphony office suite that can read native Office 2007 documents, but not write them. Open Office.org, which provides the foundation for Symphony, already offered this capability, but version 1.3 of Symphony also improves it "DataPilot Table" drill-down capabilities, mail merge and envelope printing, and presentation animations.

Symphony is available free, and in paid versions with IBM support.

Software as a Service (SaaS) Excel spreadsheet-collaboration vendor eXpresso, meanwhile, announced that it is fully compatible with Excel, including all functions and interfaces of Excel 2003 and Excel 2007. Subscriptions continue to cost $15/user/ or $79/user/year, with multi-user discounts. A free reader is also available.

There are two ways to look at these developments. On the one hand, they represent low-cost or additional-feature challenges to Microsoft's ongoing dominance in desktop applications. On the other hand, they reiterate that very dominance. After all, no one is trying to duplicate Symphony's file formats.

Don't Miss: SLIDESHOW - Microsoft Office Alternatives

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