IBM on Thursday said it has unleashed its free of charge Lotus Symphony, an open source alternative of Microsoft Office for viewing documents, spreadsheets, and presentation, which could give companies millions of dollars in savings.

Its new Lotus Symphony 1.3 features improves DataPilot Table that make it easy to drill down and analyze data, enhances mail merge and envelope printing for organizations, provides animation to add sizzle to presentations and interoperate with Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.

IBM's alternative to Microsoft Office 2007 makes cost-free document software a legitimate option for many companies around the business world, which want to realize cost-efficiencies in the current economic climate but require assurance of the quality and reliability of the technology, the company said.

Adding that, while is delivering on its commitment to free businesses and consumers. Now, it will be much harder to justify paying Office licensing fees when you can preserve and access your Office documents for free using Lotus Symphony, said Kevin Cavanaugh, VP of Lotus Software.

It also enables users to drag-and-drop plug-ins, extendable use to its other business applications and has the ability to import Microsoft Office 2007 files into Symphony. And is integrated with Lotus Notes 8, which, with 135 million licensed users worldwide according to IBM's figures, that is the most widely used office product in IBM's stable.

Lotus Symphony is based on the application and has passed 100,000 downloads mark in 2007, is now available on 1.3 versions in free of charge on the Web.