links for 2007-11-14

Symphony and ODF
A Symphony logo

Social Networking



  • [Via Groklaw] “It’s no more about OOXML. It’s about transparency, about my right to know who are the people that declare standards, and about my right to hold them responsible for their actions. “

    (tags: croatia ooxml)


  • “Nicholas M. Donofrio, a 43-year IBM employee, has been a chief catalyst in transforming IBM’s technology culture from one focused solely on technical achievement to one in which technical leaders are active and motivated contributors to IBM’s business strategy. Under his direction, IBM in 2004 launched the Global Innovation Outlook (GIO), which enables IBM, for the first time in its history, to engage non-IBMers in its technology and business-trend analysis process.”

    (tags: innovation)


  1. It feels like IBM and Microsoft are rather like Coke and Pepsi. Significant market participants; but with a certain ‘exclusion principle’ since a cola salesman cannot sensibly work for Coke and Pepsi, he has to sign up for one or for the other. A vending machine owned by Coke cannot reasonably be stocked with Pepsi, and vice-versa.

    But so long as the Coke salesman sets the price for Coke, and the Pepsi salesman sets the price for Pepsi, and the two of them don’t get together to collude on the price of cola, then the customers are served as well as they can be.

    So, the ‘Mexican standoff’ is pretty much permanent. There will be skirmishes around the edges; but you cannot have one buy the other, you cannot have a merger; neither will go bankrupt any time soon; and neither is very likely to leave the hopefully-profitable business of ‘software and related services’.

    OS/2 … the joint venture … came to an end. Microsoft recommended buying Windows; IBM didn’t have a successor product but recommended that customers look at Linux.

    IBM Lotus SmartSuite is dying. Maybe the reason for declining sales is competition from Microsoft Office; or maybe the reason is ‘market saturation’ … like typewriters … and the rise of collaboratively-built office suites such as and standardisation such as ISO26300.

    The new IBM-Microsoft joint venture is the chip for the XBox360 . Here’s IBM’s take on it .

    I don’t think the worry is about Microsoft ‘per se’. It’s more a worry about how Microsoft will deploy their vast reserves of capital; whether they will use them to try to prolong ‘legacy’ revenue streams … ‘stuffing ISO’ would be an example of prolonging the Microsoft Office revenue stream … or whether they will use them to establish new profitable businesses (such as personal care robots, TV over broadband to the home, individualised healthcare, all sorts of things that you could do nowadays that you probably couldn’t do a decade or two ago). What will they spend their dollars on ?

    The key is ‘new profitable’. If it’s ‘new loss-making’, then it tends to drive competitors out of those areas; whereas if it’s ‘new profitable’ then it drives a search for efficiency , and products and services that people want and are willing to pay for.

    Symphony is here now. It’s transformational; rather as when ATT discovered that ‘rental handsets’ were a dead business, and decided to give away free handsets in order to grow the line rental and calling ‘minutes’ businesses. (Actually, I think ATT leaving the ‘handset rental’ business was not voluntary; but would they get back into it today ? I think not.)

    So, we watch to see how the competition responds.

    At least, that’s the way it looks from the ‘trenches’. Maybe Bob can tell us more about how it looks from his level. What he would like us to do.

  2. “Most importantly, the new release [of Lotus Symphony] improves compatibility with Microsoft’s file formats”

    Sadly, that’s not what I’m seeing. On my one important test .doc file, which is my… errmmm … CV (a.k.a. my Resume), Symphony Beta 2 still changes fonts faces, sizes and attributes seemingly at random when saving as .odt. The latest version of OpenOffice does converts it correctly, so roll on a Symphony version that based on OpenOffice 2.x (or higher), instead of OpenOffice 1.2, which it currently uses.


    – Mike

  3. Great news about Lotus Symphony, so I’ll second Chris’s emotion. If you offered customers a bundled choice between MS Office 2007 and Lotus Symphony, I believe the large majority would choose Symphony. How many people wish that Office 2007 had vetoed the Ribbon idea in favor of Symphony’s more efficient tab UI — elegant but not an overwhelming change. 2008 should be another very interesting year for office suites when you look at the release schedule.

  4. There’s an illustration of the difference between ‘Business Internet’ and ‘Consumer Internet’ unfolding here .

    For businesses, one of the fundamental requirements of ‘communications’ is that they should be private unless-and-until the business chooses to share them with anyone.

    For consumers, in France at any rate, there’s to be a provision where Internet Service Providers are expected to peek at what their paying clients are doing with their Internet Service, and tell other interested businesses what is going on.

    I guess you can have as much privacy as you pay for.

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