November 7, 2006 12:08 PM PST
Intel unveils 'Web 2.0' software suite
The chip giant on Tuesday announced it has put together a collaboration software suite that it will offer to small and medium-size businesses via its resellers.
Intel held a press conference at the Web 2.0 Summit here to give details of the move, alongside open-source support provider SpikeSource and other companies.
Intel trying out software
Intel adopts Web 2.0
Called SuiteTwo, the package will include software from Six Apart, Socialtext, NewsGator and SimpleFeed. These are small software companies that provide applications for blogs, RSS feeds, wikis and social networking.
All of these so-called Web 2.0 applications are more commonly associated with and used by consumers. But corporations are increasingly using blogs, wikis and social networking applications.
To accelerate their use, Intel decided to assemble these applications into a single suite and to contract SpikeSource to integrate and support the offerings, said Lisa Lambert, the managing director of Intel Capital's software and solutions group.
"We tried to figure out a way?that small and medium businesses could get a solution already integrated and have support attached to it," Lambert said. It chose these applications because they were "best of breed," she added.
Later this month, Intel will launch Channel Marketplace, an extension to an existing hardware-oriented reseller program that will allow Intel partners to resell software as well, Lambert said.
at the Web 2.0 Summit
The Channel Marketplace will be available worldwide by the middle of next year, according to Intel.
The addition will give resellers more products to sell to small and medium-size businesses, she said. Initial participants are Dell, Tech Data, NEC and Ingram Micro. The software will be run on Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server, Red Hat Enterprise Server and Microsoft Windows operating systems.
The benefit to Intel is that it creates a greater inventory of applications optimized for the chipmaker's hardware, Lambert said.
"The issue Intel has had in the past is, because of the time it takes to get silicon to production, it's been difficult to get ISVs (independent software vendors) to get product to market (at the same time as chip releases)," she said.
By partnering with these software providers, Intel hopes to have Intel-optimized programs in this emerging Web 2.0 area, she added. Intel envisions other software bundles in the future.
The components of SuiteTwo will be optimized for Intel's client and server chips, including its 32-bit and 64-bit Xeon processors and future products, the company said.
The move will also create demand for SpikeSource and Six Apart, which Intel Capital has invested in. It also has an option to invest in other participating companies, once they seek funding, Lambert said.
A lift for SpikeSource?
SpikeSource will integrate the different components and provide ongoing support and maintenance to customers, CEO Kim Polese said.
The company will build a single user interface to the various tools, as well as single sign-on capability, integrated search, a dashboard and an administration console, she said. That lineup will be available in the first quarter of next year.
SpikeSource provides support and ongoing testing for combinations of products, primarily to smaller businesses. Most of the products it distributes and supports are open-source.
The revenue from the arrangement could be "pretty substantial," Polese said.
"These products have always been available. What's been missing is the integration of the underlying platform for small and medium-size businesses," she said. "The challenge with integration is the ongoing maintenance."
The cost for the software, which can be installed with a single click, will cost between $175-$200 per user per year and will include regular updates.
Ross Mayfield, CEO of Socialtext, said that these Web 2.0 tools used in businesses--sometimes referred to as "enterprise 2.0"--give companies collaboration software that is far superior to e-mail. And the applications in SuiteTwo itself are each extensible via application programming interfaces, he said.
"We're shifting away from the push model of e-mail, in the attention model, to where we are choosing what you can subscribe to," Mayfield said.
During the press conference, executives from the companies represented in SuiteTwo said that distribution will help make Web 2.0 technologies more pervasive in businesses.
"For enterprises, this is a critical moment. The enterprise finally gets Web 2.0," said Barak Berkowitz, CEO of social-networking software provider Six Apart, which introduced an enterprise product this year. "RSS lets (businesses) track all sorts of things in their organizations."