Workplace Redux: IBM Chases The Corporate Desktop - InformationWeek

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2/16/2007
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Workplace Redux: IBM Chases The Corporate Desktop

The company's Open Client Solution takes another swipe at the desktop dominance of Microsoft's Office suite.

IBM is making another run at corporate desktops.

This time it's something called the Open Client Solution, a menu of components to create a desktop suite capable of running atop Linux, Mac, or Windows operating systems. The components include most Lotus Notes and Domino offerings, a word processor based on the OpenDocument Format, the Firefox Web browser, and the Red Hat or Novell desktop Linux suites.

The only new piece seems to be what IBM terms Lotus Expediter, which IBM Linux VP Scott Handy calls "client-side middleware" based on the Eclipse 3.0 software development platform. "It does for applications what Eclipse did for development tools" in ensuring cross-platform compatibility, he says. Developers will be able to use Lotus Expediter to create cross-platform products, he adds.

IBM has a long history of losing to Microsoft on the desktop. This recalls an ill-fated IBM campaign begun in 2003 around Lotus Workplace to create server-side productivity tools and applications accessed through a browser. It was a technically complex offering that didn't take off. Then there was OS/2. Open Client Solution has been "battle tested" by 15,000 IBM employees, Handy says. Now it's moving to commercial use, with more than 100 companies testing it.

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