Exploring LotusLive Symphony

Today at its Lotusphere 2011 event in Orlando, IBM announced tech preview of LotusLive Symphony, a Web-based office app duo to extend its Lotus Symphony productivity suite. I reviewed the desktop-bound edition of Symphony a few months back, and Andrew Garcia took on the LotusLive online collaboration service.

It's interesting to see IBM add a Web app component to Symphony, much as Microsoft has done with its own Office 2010 and Office Web Apps offerings. I tend to use a combination of Web and desktop-native apps in my daily work--both platforms offer certain advantages, so why not take advantage of both?

After spending about 20 minutes of wandering within LotusLive Symphony--a few minutes of which I've embedded for your viewing below--it seems that IBM's new Web apps, which include word processing and spreadsheet components, are off to a decent enough start.

I tried the new Web-based Symphony out with one of Microsoft's Word-formatted reviewer guides--these tend to be heavily formatted, so they offer a decent test of applications' Office-format fidelity chops. I found various small formatting issues, which is the standard I've come to expect. One feature that caught my eye was a task assignment capability I've not seen in competing Web-based products.

What's your take on Web-based versions of existing desktop apps? Me-too feature of the new decade, wise embrace of the Web, or something else?