Lucy Sherriff over at The Register reported earlier in the week that IBM has joined the development community by donating code it has developed for Lotus Notes and promising to contribute to improving the “feature richness and code quality” of ComputerWorld‘s Todd Weiss also reported the news, adding that Big Blue will dedicate a team of 35 Chinese programmers in China to the project and that more people will be added as needed around the world.

In the interim, however, IBM’s press release on the announcement seems to have disappeared from the company’s web site. Perhaps the more recent Inq story provides a clue, noting that some of the code IBM promised actually belongs to Microsoft.

And assuming the the Redmond monopolists have objected, why? Two reasons spring to mind: IBM’s participation in the project will certainly boost in its battle for market share against Microsoft’s similar product; and the widely reported remarks of John McCreesh, head of marketing for the open source project:

“We welcome IBM’s contributions to further enhancing the product. But equally important is IBM’s future commitment to package and distribute new works that leverage technology supporting the ISO ODF standard.”


“ODF is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the IT industry to unify round a standard, and deliver lasting benefit to users of desktop technology.”

Given Microsoft’s current battle with ISO and its members to have it’s own competing standard certified, the second reason would probably make most sense.

Financial Mail’s Duncan McLeod wrote about that battle on his blog, here and here. I’ve also mentioned the issue in previous posts here and here. And Groklaw‘s Pamela Jones has a comprehensive report on the issue right here.