Lotus Symphony Test Ends With a Resounding Thud31 Oct

I posted that I’d be trying out the new Lotus Symphony suite of office productivity tools.  Well that didn’t take.  I probably should have changed over the file properties for xls, doc, and ppt files to open with Symphony.  Since I didn’t, I hardly used the tools at all.

Here’s the rub with Symphony and the other MS Office alternatives.  Microsoft Office reached dominance not because of the functions that your average user cares about and that every basic office suite does well.  The tools were widely adopted because introductory level developers (like me) were able to quickly build department level applications that helped improve staff productivity.  In the absence of any real developer tools, I don’t believe Lotus Symphony or any other MS Office alternative has a shot at being anything more than a niche product.

I hate that I didn’t do a decent evaluation of the Lotus tools.  But the reality is that I spend my time working with tools that fit the environments my clients have in place.  As long as organizations have one person who has gone past the basic data entry functions of Excel, I will never convince them that an Office alternative will work for them.  And if they’re so small that they don’t have a serious investment in MS Office, why would I ever recommend they start out using tools that can’t be extended as their needs grow?

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