IBM has launched a suite of free, online office applications that will compete with both Microsoft Office and Google's freeware downloads as well as promote IBM's Lotus Notes.

There are three core applications: Lotus Symphony Documents, Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets and Lotus Symphony Presentations.

The applications, currently in beta, will work on Windows and Linux computers, all claim to offer a simple, clean and logical interface and are in the non-propriety ODF format.

IBM Lotus Symphony Documents allows users to create, edit, share, and save word processing documents. Users can start with a blank document, import an existing document, or choose from a set of document templates.

IBM Lotus Symphony Presentations allows end users to create graphic presentations that can be shared with audiences via a slide show mode. The presentations created by Lotus Symphony Presentation software can be created from scratch or using the included presentation templates for a variety of looks.

IBM Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets allows end users to create, edit, share, and save a variety of spreadsheets. Users can create blank documents, import existing documents, or choose from a set of document templates. Standard navigational elements include toolbars, an editing window, and a status bar.

Recently IBM announced that they were joining the OpenOffice.org. "IBM is committed to opening office desktop productivity applications just as we helped open enterprise computing with Linux", said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive, IBM software group.