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IBM Eases The Way To Lotus Symphony

I'm always pleased when companies respond to the complaints of its user base -- especially when the user base isn't paying anything for the privilege. So while it is gratifying that Apple is offering irate early iPhone adopters $100 coupons, I feel even more appreciative that IBM quickly tweaked its originally irritating registration process for Lotus Symphony.
I'm always pleased when companies respond to the complaints of its user base -- especially when the user base isn't paying anything for the privilege. So while it is gratifying that Apple is offering irate early iPhone adopters $100 coupons, I feel even more appreciative that IBM quickly tweaked its originally irritating registration process for Lotus Symphony.Part of that, of course, is that I was one of the complainants. Last week, when I rushed to download the new and much-touted Lotus Symphony suite (okay, I admit it -- I'm as much an early adopter as anyone when it's a free download), I found myself increasingly frustrated by what I felt was a long and unnecessarily intrusive registration process. (Especially when compared to that of its nearest rival, OpenOffice.org.)

Well, there's only one thing to do when a piece of software makes you grit your teeth for any reason, and so I wrote a blog detailing my travails in trying to do a simple download of the new three-application office suite. That was the morning of Thursday, September 20th. By Friday afternoon, readers were leaving comments asking what the heck I was complaining about -- all you had to do to avoid the long registration form was choose to continue without an IBM login ID.

IBM had fixed the problem. They had gone in, removed the necessity to fill out that long form (which, much to my annoyance, assumed that the user was necessarily associated with a company), and made it as simple to download their product as OpenOffice.org did.

In fact, Eric Otchet, the product manager for Lotus Symphony, left a comment on the original blog that said, among other things, "I read your blog and many others since we launched Symphony. Many of the people had the same comments about our registration process as you did.... On Friday, my team worked with the IBM download team to come up with a streamlined download registration process."

I know how much most Webmasters have on their plates (and how long it usually takes for even a simple project to reach the head of their queue), so to fix this kind of problem in a little more than a day probably meant overtime and a lot of trips to Starbucks. The effort is appreciated.

Meanwhile, our intrepid reviewer Serdar Yegulalp took advantage of the new registration process to download and try out IBM's new suite. His review -- IBM's Free Lotus Symphony Beta 1 Office Suite Is Familiar Yet Different -- makes interesting reading. Take a look, and let us know if you agree.

Editor's Choice
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
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Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter