Adobe, Google, IBM challenge Microsoft Office

Paying for word processing software may soon be a thing of past
if Microsoft competitors Adobe, Google and IBM have any say.

Google already offers Google Docs, a free hosted suite of word processing,
spreadsheet and presentation tools plus online storage. And, of
course, there's OpenOffice, the no-cost, open source application suite
currently working on its third version.

Now Adobe has jumped into the fray with, a new beta site featuring free online
hosting and collaboration tools. The suite offers a word processor,
PDF converter and Web conferencing/desktop sharing tools.

Adobe will be integrating into Acrobat 9, coming in
July. Developer APIs are available for custom integration, the
company said.

" enables individuals to truly work collaboratively
on electronic documents," the company said in its announcement of
the suite. " delivers a new way for people to work
together online."

Registration for the site is currently open.

And that's not the only new threat: IBM today unveiled the 1.0
version of Lotus Symphony, its free application suite
based on the Open Document Format (ODF).

Symphony, released in beta format last year, offers a word
processing, spreadsheet and presentation program. It also offers
open APIs for integration with Eclipse or other frameworks, the
company said.

The free download of 1.0 is now available here, although IBM's Symphony blog notes that the site is
experiencing "intermittent problems with the downloads due to heavy

Along with the release of the suite today, IBM announced a new
"elite" support package for large enterprises using Symphony.
According to reports, the package costs a flat $25,000.

While Microsoft offers free online collaboration tools for
Office users through its Office Live Workspace beta, users must have purchased
versions of the related Office software to use the site. The Office
Live Small Business version of the offering includes a Web site,
e-mail and domain name free for one year.

This article was originally published June 3 on, an affiliate Web site of Becky Nagel is the executive editor of

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the executive editor of the 1105 Redmond Media Group's Web sites, including,, and, among others.


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