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IBM Lotus Symphony Attracts 100,000 Registered Users in First Week


IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Lotus Symphony, IBM’s new, free office productivity software, has been downloaded by more than 100,000 registered business and consumer users in its first week. The Lotus Symphony Web site (, which is providing user community feedback for the Symphony beta software, has received more than one million visitors during this period.

The download figure is a record for IBM software, surpassing the previous record held by Lotus Notes, IBM’s most widely-used product, with 135 million licensed users. Lotus Symphony is fully integrated into Lotus Notes 8, providing users with easy access to productivity tools as part of their desktop experience -- without having to launch a separate program. Symphony desktop offerings are part of the broader technology trend of enabling faster, more automated movement of information within and between organizations using the Open Document Format. ODF makes digital information independent of the program from which it was created -- such as a word processor, spreadsheet or presentation software. This makes documents universally accessible on any platform, allowing information to be used in new, innovative ways.
Since the Symphony Web site began offering access to the beta version of Symphony software on September 18, a user community has formed to share experiences and post suggestions for new features. For example, members have assisted each another with installation and usage questions, and individual users are responding to each other. Between IBM’s support team responding and the community response, answers to user questions and usage suggestions are happening in near real time. In fact, support forum posts have accelerated from less than one hundred the first day to more than 600 daily. Community members are also providing feedback on capabilities they wish to see in future releases.

IBM plans to add a number of new community features to the Symphony Web site in the near future, such as member voting. This is part of IBM’s stated objective of allowing Symphony users to help drive product development priorities for upcoming releases. In just the first week, the Lotus Symphony forum page has been redesigned based on user feedback.

“There is an evolution taking place in the way documents are being used for collaboration,” said Mike Rhodin, General Manager, IBM Collaboration/Lotus Software. “Millions are seeing it. It’s more than a free download. This tidal wave of adoption is creating an independent mass of users accustomed to open documents and poised to benefit from the innovative new capabilities they will soon afford.”

Lotus Symphony is comprised of three core applications: Lotus Symphony Documents, Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets and Lotus Symphony Presentations. The software, which support Windows and Linux desktops, is designed to handle the majority of office productivity tasks that workers typically perform. Lotus Symphony supports multiple file formats, including Microsoft Office and Open Document Format (ODF), and also can output content in PDF format.

“Providing productivity options to our employees is good on multiple levels,” said Darren Creely of Prudential Insurance. “The tools comprising Symphony that we plan to use within Lotus Notes 8 represent an open alternative for the things we all use the most -- word processing, spreadsheets, presentations -- that will interoperate with other software, making it very versatile and useful.”

IBM is working with the ODF standard to bring innovative new capabilities to documents, enabling them to interact with business information such as enterprise resource planning and supply chain management held in other documents and on the Internet. Lotus Symphony’s IBM-developed accessibility features represent the first donation by IBM to the community since it formally joined and commited to make important technical and resource contributions. By teaming with the community to accelerate the rate of innovation in the office productivity software marketplace, IBM expects to deliver higher value to users of its products and services. This will lead to a broader range of solutions and ODF-supported applications that draw from the technology.


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