Lotusphere 2010: IBM has updated the Lotus Symphony office productivity suite with spreadsheet tools that function in a similar way to Microsoft Excel.
Big Blue said that Symphony 3, which will ship later this year, encompasses the largest updates since the product was launched in 2007.
"The update is a long-term strategy to get back into the office productivity space, not a one-time decision," said Ed Brill, Lotus Software product management director.
"Symphony 3 will be exactly what office users need from office productivity tools, and this will be a legitimate replacement for Microsoft Office.
"Previously Symphony users were mostly turned off by the spreadsheet functionality. The functionality that accounting and financial departments used in Excel did not translate into Symphony."
The new Excel-like capabilities are possible because IBM has updated Symphony's entire code from OpenOffice.org 1.1.4 to OpenOffice.org 3.
The Symphony interface had been simplified and is "much more easy to use", he added.
A public beta of Symphony 3 is planned for next month.
The Symphony portfolio includes document, presentation and spreadsheet capabilities, and is available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X operating systems.
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