Backing Out of Office

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2004-07-20 Print this article Print

Is there an effort or a movement away from Microsoft Office within IBM, or within the Software Group? You know were constantly looking at ways to make computing more efficient for our customers. Our business is driven by customer cost of ownership. And when we can reduce cost of ownership, there are benefits to be had.
The issue of Office is a fairly complicated one. We have IBMers, people inside our company, that dont use Microsoft Office. We have some people who are using lightweight editors, and obviously some people are playing with OpenOffice and various other tools. And were always looking at what models of computing are going to be important for the future that help customers do things more economically.
We think that the lighter-weight clients, server-managed clients that were doing around our Workplace and portal offerings, can offer real economic advantage to customers. And thats entirely independent of whether or not theyre using Windows or not using Windows. And in many cases, using Office or not using Office. Click here for advice on picking a Linux desktop from Senior Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. One of the big problems we see customers having today is theyre spending huge amounts of money on labor on managing thick, heavy clients. And there are areas that we have a lot of investment in and a lot more investment going in to look at how we can improve customer cost of ownership around the client. So its not an operating system-specific effort. Were not trying to move the whole world to Linux clients. We have a lot of IBMers on Windows clients; we have some that are starting to use Windows clients and playing around with that as another option. We see customers showing interest in Linux clients, but the overwhelming majority of the market is Windows clients today, and theyll be Windows clients tomorrow. A whole lot of confusion is swirling around this topic. And I think its less about the software packages you run and more about the design of the client environment and the way you run your application. And there are thousands of businesses out there that are shifting to portal-style models, which I would view as server-managed and server-controlled. And our view is its time to change that, because its just too expensive. Thats what I mean: whether internally there was a movement to do maybe a pilot to move off of Office? Well, were trying to portalize everybody inside the IBM company and have them operate inside of a portal environment. We have a lot of IBMers who dont need Office. We have a set of lightweight editors that are part of the WebSphere portal offering today, and you dont need Office. You can use the editors. So, yeah, were looking at other alternatives. We dont think its a one-size-fits-all world. Check out eWEEK.coms Developer & Web Services Center at for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.

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Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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