IBM Docs Could Compete with Both Microsoft Word and Google Docs

by Ostatic Staff - Jan. 26, 2012

How unbreakable is Microsoft's lead in word processing? Microsoft Word, of course, is the world's most widely used word processor and has been for many years. But Google has been winning some enterprises over with Google Docs, there are a number of viable open source word processors that offer compatibility with Word, and Word has never faced so much stiff competition. Now, IBM is bringing its Lotus-drive suite of productivity applications to the cloud with IBM Docs, and while its unlikely to shake Word's hegemony right out of the gate, it is more evidence that powerful companies mean to compete with the Redmond giant in the cloud.

According to IBM:

"IBM Docs is a new office productivity suite for working on documents, spreadsheets and presentations -- together -- in the cloud. With IBM Docs there is no desktop software. You only need a browser and an account, and you are able to easily create professional looking documents and share them with others. IBM Docs is simple yet powerful – letting you get started quickly, but delivering the advanced features you need."

The suite is in beta testing now, but there is no reason that it can't become a viable competitor to Google Docs, and IBM's word processor is actually quite good. It's based on Lotus Symphony. 

Lotus Symphony is actually very old, a productivity suite first released in 1984 as an integrated software suite for DOS back when Lotus was a powerhouse software company.  Symphony's code also has a long open source history. It is based on Eclipse Rich Client Platform, OpenOffice 1.1.4 and OpenOffice 2.0. IBM Docs is worth watching.

Meanwhile, PCMag's John Dvorak notes this about the IBM effort and IBM's previous suite:

"A complete face-lift was needed to reignite the excitement and IBM Docs does that. It takes a page from the Google Docs nomenclature and everyone is immediately interested. I know I am."

IBM may even throw in a few incentives to win over users of Google Docs and Microsoft Word. We'll keep you posted.