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 user 2005-03-20 at 10:42:00 am Views: 61
  • #10954
    Software legend joins Microsoft
    Software giant Microsoft is to buy Groove Networks, the maker
    of computer programs for “virtual offices”.

    Collaborative software that allows employees to work together over the
    internet from various locations has been growing in complexity and usage.

    And Microsoft has been focusing on the field ahead of new releases of its
    Windows and Office programs.

    Groove founder Ray Ozzie – an industry legend – will join Microsoft as one of
    its chief technical officers.

    Mr Ozzie, 49, created Lotus Notes for IBM in the 1980s, the first messaging
    application to achieve widespread sales.

    “Increasingly, the ‘office’ is defined as wherever you and your laptop happen
    to be – a customer’s conference room, an airplane, a hotel room, a coffee shop
    or a home office,” he said.

    “This new era will be characterized by highly interdependent relationships
    and systems, and I and others at Groove look forward to joining with Microsoft
    to shaping the software that runs these systems.”


    Groove will become part of the Microsoft division that includes its Office
    suite of programs.

    Financial terms of the purchase were not disclosed but Microsoft had
    previously invested $89m (£46m) in Groove.

    Microsoft scores a double-whammy with the
    acquisition of Groove Networks

    In total, the privately-held firm has received $155m in financing from
    investors, including Intel’s venture capital unit, since it was founded in 1997.

    Its 200 employees will continue to work from their HQ at Beverly,

    Groove’s Virtual Office utilises the same peer-to-peer technology seen in
    illegal mp3 file sharing networks.

    The company has worked closely with Microsoft for nearly five years and
    analysts expected it would eventually be acquired.

    Further consolidation?

    Microsoft said Virtual Office will complement its existing collaborative
    offerings such as its Sharepoint group of products.

    The purchase follows predictions by Forrester Research of consolidation among
    collaborative software developers as the likes of Microsoft, IBM and Oracle
    focus on the field, buying companies or licensing their products in the process.

    Simon Reynolds, head of European Collaboration at software application
    provider Vignette, said the deal was further evidence that Microsoft and IBM
    were “slugging it out” in an area that was becoming “critical” to their

    But he thought the purchase would present an “interesting challenge” for
    Microsoft as it integrated Groove’s technology into future product lines.

    Richard Edwards, IT analyst at Butler Group said Microsoft had acquired a
    ready-made platform and “one of the world’s great software pioneers”.

    “Microsoft scores a double-whammy with the acquisition of Groove Networks,”
    he added.

    “The acquisition of Groove Networks will undoubtedly inject a new life into
    the flagging Microsoft Office System family.”