Lotus Symphony 1.3 has been announced!  The press release and some early coverage are available:

IBM's alternative to Microsoft Office 2007 makes cost-free document software a legitimate option for many companies around the business world which want to realize cost-efficiencies in the current economic climate but require assurance of the quality and reliability of the technology. ...

"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, VP of 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 press release highlights additional customers who are deploying or piloting Symphony, and the real cost savings associated with their choice.  Surveys indicate that 25% of Notes customers are piloting or deploying Symphony as part of Notes 8.x client upgrades.  A huge win for the power of the product, and its price tag.

Symphony 1.3 adds support for reading Office 2007 file formats (DOCX, PPTX, XLSX) so when your friends at Microsoft send you something, you'll be able to read it.  This was one of the remaining deployment blockers for some organizations.  The development team put a huge amount of effort into performance and fidelity of these Office 2007 format readers....way faster and better than what's in OpenOffice today.  We'll contribute back some of the key components as appropriate to the OpenOffice.org community.

There are many other improvements in Symphony 1.3, including better launch/load on the Mac, better table-of-contents generation, better mail merge, and better data pilots.  Congratulations to the entire team on their achievement.

Now, we will shift gears and focus on the next major release of Symphony, targeted for 2010.  In this version, we will incorporate the OpenOffice 3.x base, ODF 1.2 support, VBA support, and other key enhancements.  The Symphony is just warming up :-)

Link: symphony.lotus.com: Download Lotus Symphony 1.3 today >
Link: IBM: IBM Unleashes New Symphony for Millions of Microsoft Office Customers >
Link: ComputerWorld: Lotus Symphony now reads Office 2007 documents >

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