Open Challenge: IBM Throws Down Gauntlet on Office - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Software // Information Management

Open Challenge: IBM Throws Down Gauntlet on Office

Some time this quarter, expect a version of IBM's Workplace Managed Client that will support the Open Document Format (ODF).

Event Alert

Open-Source Enterprise
Jan. 23-25, San Francisco

Corporate Performance Management
Jan. 30- Feb. 1, New York City

Microsoft has long ruled the office productivity space — 90 percent of all files in corporate America are Office files. But some time this quarter expect a version of IBM's Workplace Managed Client (2.6) that will support the OpenDocument Format (ODF) — an XML-based standard ratified by OASIS. (The free OpenOffice and Sun's Star Office are two other Office-like products using ODF.) For the first time, there will be a widely supported alternative to Office. The Workplace client has components that look and feel like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, read and save files in those formats (as well as ODF and PDF), and provide added collaboration features — for $69 per user. Because it's based on Eclipse, Workplace is installed and controlled by network administrators, simplifying support.

"Just as XML is taking over integration categories, people will choose ODF," says Arthur Fontaine, senior offering manager of IBM Workplace Managed Client. ODF adoption will be especially brisk in emerging markets like India, China, Brazil and Eastern Europe, Fontaine adds. While heavy Office users may be slow to convert to Workplace and open-source alternatives — and Fontaine admits that Workplace has limited support for macros, a drawback for spreadsheet-dependent customers — companies without Office deployed should find the alternatives attractive.

The State of Massachusetts' attempt to commit to using only open-source ODF and Adobe's PDF document formats collapsed under political pressure. But other governments, like India's, are choosing open source over proprietary tools as they extend Web-based technologies to previously unserved areas.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Remote Work Tops SF, NYC for Most High-Paying Job Openings
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  7/20/2021
Blockchain Gets Real Across Industries
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  7/22/2021
Seeking a Competitive Edge vs. Chasing Savings in the Cloud
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  7/19/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Monitoring Critical Cloud Workloads Report
In this report, our experts will discuss how to advance your ability to monitor critical workloads as they move about the various cloud platforms in your company.
Flash Poll