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Lotus Symphony 3 beta goes OOo

IBM clambers onto Microsoft, Google coattails

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IBM flung out a second beta of Lotus Symphony 3 yesterday, that brings the free productivity suite closer to Microsoft Office.

The software, which is based on current OpenOffice.org 3 code stream, comes loaded with support for Visual Basic macros, OLE Objects and embedded audio/video.

The company has tweaked the user interface and added lots of new features including support for nested tables, presentation masters and DataPilot tables for pivoting on large datasets.

"Users will also find enhanced support for and interoperability with Microsoft Office 2007 files and OpenOffice.org file formats," noted IBM.

In other words, its applications slot more comfortably in with Microsoft and OOo documents.

IBM launched Lotus Symphony in 2007 in a move to rival Redmond's ubiquitous Office suite. Since then Google and OOo have begun muscling on that territory.

Google's effort is, of course, a web-based one and IBM wonks have been beavering away at its own webby version of Symphony, dubbed Project Concord, which is expected to land in the first half of this year.

Similarly, Microsoft is planning to release Office 2010 in June that will include a web-based version of its suite. ®

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