IBM competes with Microsoft on the desktop

News Factor writes In a bid to wrest control of the corporate desktop market from Microsoft, IBM has unveiled a new software strategy that enables workers to access a full complement of business applications from enterprise data centers.
The flagship of the new strategy is Lotus Workplace, a bundle that includes word processing, e-mail, database and spreadsheet software. The Workplace software runs on the desktop or handhelds, but resides on the corporation’s Web server.

Microsoft has been a dominant force in the market for core business applications – especially on the computer desktop. When it comes to building mobile applications, that are integrated with what a user has on their desktop it’s often more difficult.
In this regard IBM’s Lotus workplace technology aims to blend a mobile and desktop strategy to enable easier access to applications. The application will run on the local client (desktop or hand held) but reside on the corporate server.
Now exactly how IBM and its partners can really market this to customers, and implement it is another story.
This is a cross between a terminal or thin client and hosted applications.
IBM’s press release reads New Workplace Client Technology, Micro Edition: The new Workplace Micro Environment (WCTME) software (version 5.7) extends enterprise applications to a wide variety of devices. Middleware that comprises device versions of IBM enterprise software, such as DB2e, MQe, Service Management Framework and Java runtime environments, WCTME 5.7 enables a more seamless link between devices and the enterprise. This makes it easier for enterprises, developers and manufacturers to build and configure function-rich applications on devices, as well as manage, update and install new services remotely and wirelessly. In addition, the software enables the management of applications in an environment (for example, a mobile salesforce) in which devices are not connected to a network all the time. The WCTME software enables access to business applications whether devices are connected, disconnected or sometimes-connected – and then synch up later.
Two questions come to mind: a) how much change will a business have to go through, to fit what IBM is now offering with a businesses existing computing environment b) how compatible is the Workplace Client Technology with Microsoft Office software