IBM cranks up Microsoft Office Alternative with Partners

IBM’s Workplace Software is a service for mid-sized businesses which provides applications to desktop computers, PDAs and other devices via central servers. There’s little, if any software to install on the client machines.
IBM’s service includes a full package of business applications – competing head to head with Microsoft Office. Today IBM announces that 100 software partners with will use IBM’s Workplace Software with their own products.
Cnet writes he company said Tuesday that these 100 partners, which include application providers, have committed to using the Workplace software in conjunction with their own products. Desktop software company Adobe Systems, supply chain application company i2 Technologies and portal tools maker Bowstreet said they intend to integrate their respective programs with IBM’s Workplace.
The Workplace software includes IBM’s WebSphere Portal software, as well as desktop software for running productivity applications such as a spreadsheet and text editor. The bundle also includes collaboration software such as instant messaging and Web conference tools.
IBM expects that the number of software companies that intend to use the Workplace software will balloon to more than 1,000 partners in the next 18 months, said Buell Duncan, general manager of IBM’s ISV (independent software vendor) and developer relations. Partners are interested in the server-oriented approach of Workplace, which gives them more control over management and security, he said.
The Workplace software can work in conjunction with Microsoft’s Office productivity suite. But IBM has made it clear it will try to sell the Workplace package as an alternative to Office in some scenarios.