March 10, 2005 11:45 AM PST
Microsoft to buy Groove Networks
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companywide deals to selling smaller projects to smaller organizations and to individual departments within big companies, according to a representative.
In an interview with CNET News.com one year ago, Ozzie said the company's intention from the beginning was to remain independent and become a public company.
But on Thursday, Ozzie said joining Microsoft will help Groove realize its vision of giving dispersed teams of workers better collaboration tools.
"(I) have an opportunity to contribute some of what I've learned--both the things that have worked and the mistakes I've made--to Microsoft's corporate-wide offerings, both information worker and related supporting infrastructure," Ozzie said.
Raikes said that the timing for the transaction was driven by Microsoft's growing interest in collaboration and by requests from several customers who suggested that Microsoft tighten its ties with Groove.
"It was the combination of that (customer) feedback and the opportunity we see in having more powerful collaboration offerings going forward--that was the tipping point," Raikes said.
Microsoft's two other chief technical officers are David Vaskevitch, who focuses on business applications, and Craig Mundie, who deals with emerging technologies, such as embedded computing, and government policies.
A "big-idea thinker"
The acquisition of Groove is hardly a surprise, given the close ties between the companies, said Nate Root, an analyst at Forrester Research. Keeping Ozzie at Microsoft is a smart move, given that Ozzie's been a fixture of the collaboration market for many years, he added.
"When Lotus Notes was invented, it was an out-of-the-blue big idea, and Groove was the same...Ray is a big-idea thinker," Root said. "Microsoft has recognized the value of it and is finally stepping up and buying them."
From a product point of view, the Groove software fills a hole in Microsoft's existing office suite. When customers have needed software for workers who were only occasionally connected to company networks but needed to update documents, Microsoft has had to point them to Groove, Root said.
"When you're dealing with software products that have millions of lines of code and are well along their design and development paths, it's not trivial to buy a major new feature and weave it in at the proverbial last minute," he said. "Microsoft should have bought them a year ago."
Paul DeGroot, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, said buying Groove fits Microsoft's pattern of buying companies that have built their
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