IBM has added support for Office 2007 file formats to the newest version of its Lotus Symphony software, promising customers an economically viable alternative to other application licences.
The firm said that the increased support for file formats within the free-to-use Lotus software provides users with a legitimate alternative to Microsoft's Office product, and suggested that its use could contribute to enterprise cost-efficiencies running into the millions.
IBM explained that, by using free document processing software, firms could enjoy many of the benefits of the alternative, without having to pay for the privilege.
For example, Microsoft Office 2007 files can be imported into the Symphony suite with ease, meaning that users can access, edit and use documents without subscribing to the paid-for software.
Other improvements to Symphony include data tools, such as the ability to drill down and analyse information, and mail merge and printing tools designed to help businesses contact customers.
"IBM is delivering on its commitment to free businesses and consumers from having to pay licensing fees over and over just to access their own personal or company information," said Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president at Lotus Software.
"Now, it will be much harder to justify paying Office licensing fees when you can preserve and access your Office documents for free using Lotus Symphony."
The free Lotus Symphony version 1.3 is available now via the web. Alternatively it is shipped as standard with every copy of Lotus Notes and Lotus Foundations.
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