Should IBM do to OpenOffice what Jive does with OffiSync?

Two interesting things have happened in the last month, one – Jive purchased OffiSync which socializes Microsoft Office and two – Oracle announces OpenOffice.org will be submitted to the Apache foundation.

Is this an opportunity for IBM? Should IBM drop Symphony, invest in OpenOffice and make the same socialization into products like Connections that OffiSync does?

It definitely makes me wonder if installed Symphony should continue. I don’t thing this affects the online version of Symphony (Concord) but some of the back-end could potentially just use the free open source version of OpenOffice. Shifting to standardize on OpenOffice could benefit IBM from a resource perspective, relying on the community and IBM to keep it going. It will also insure the office suite is always up to date with the latest – as Symphony lags about 6-12 months behind Open Office in some features. I also think some of the cool things Symphony does can now be put into OpenOffice. It could be a win-win.

Attachment viewer and OpenOffice

So there has been a lot of discussion both internally and externally about the attachment viewer and if it should support viewing Microsoft Office and Symphony files.  One solution would be to extend the attachment viewer that uses OpenOffice.org API’s to do the previewing of the files.  This of course would require Open Office to be installed on the desktop.  So I ask this question, is that even a viable option for companies at this point? What is the reality of relying on an open source office suite?  We could even use Symphony to do the conversion and preview but I am not confident enough people actually use Symphony (except IBM) on an enterprise level.  So what are you thoughts?  Feel free to comment here or email me privately.  I would be interested to hear direct feedback on this before I go off and attempt anything.