March 10, 2005 11:45 AM PST
Microsoft to buy Groove Networks
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applications on top of Microsoft software. The move also advances Redmond's strategy of adding features to its Office product line in an effort to get customers to upgrade, he said.
DeGroot noted, though, that Microsoft already has a number of collaboration-related products, such as Live Meeting conferencing software.
"To some extent, Microsoft has had a shotgun approach to collaboration," DeGroot said. "It's not clear to me which of Microsoft's approaches to collaboration will be a winner."
Chairman and chief
software architect, Microsoft
Microsoft executives said that the addition of Groove gives the company three approaches to collaboration: a server-based method for sharing Office documents through SharePoint; real-time collaboration with Live Meeting; and now Groove Virtual Office for people who are geographically dispersed and need to work with people inside and outside their organization.
Microsoft intends to continue offering the Groove application on a hosted basis, said Steven Sinovsky, senior vice president at Microsoft's Information Worker division.
Gates said Microsoft will create a long-term "road map" for integrating Groove's software, but some capabilities, such as authentication and peer-to-peer, will surface in the shorter term in Longhorn. Existing work at Microsoft will be combined with what Groove's employees are doing, he said.
"Clearly, a big thing of Longhorn is going to be its peer-to-peer capability, and having Groove help us pull that together is going to help us do an even better job on that," he said.
Ozzie, who battled Microsoft for years when he was at IBM's Lotus division, will make a significant adjustment as part of the larger Microsoft organization, Forrester's Root said.
"It's ironic that the creator of Lotus Notes will be reporting to Bill Gates," Root said. "The whole point of Groove is to let people work together when they're not in the same location--we'll see if Ray can eat his own dog food."
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