Permanent Pacts Possible
Eventually, the software giant could decide it wants to make its pacts with one or more of these vendors permanent by acquiring them and their teams for total immersion into the SharePoint platform.
eWEEK's money is on Awareness; Carter spent 11 years at Microsoft building up Site Server, the kernel of which went on to become SharePoint server.
Forrester Research analyst Jeremiah Owyang told eWEEK the demand for branded social networks, or white labels, is increasing among enterprises, with most brands turning to specialized vendors beyond the established content management and portal vendors that manage the corporate Web sites.
"Looking at previous Web cycles, Microsoft [among other traditional Web management vendors] will need to offer these new toolsets to customers," he said. "While it's too early to make a prediction, Awareness and Telligent are two of the few white label social networks using Microsoft's .NET technology."
But don't count out the larger NewsGator. Though known primarily as a consumer social media provider, the company June 9 released version 2.0 of Social Sites, its social computing solution for -- surprise -- Office SharePoint Server 2007.
Social Sites 2.0 works from directly within SharePoint to essentially turn intranets into social hubs by providing enhanced tagging, RSS feed subscriptions and management, colleague tracking features and content mashup capabilities. Brian Kellner, vice president of products for NewsGator, told eWEEK.
There are communities to let employees share ideas, information and documents within the Microsoft platform, discovery of groups via customized recommendations, tag clouds, search; a discussion utility that lets users participate in a community without logging in to the site.
There are also employee social graphs based on both explicit and implied connections, showing each user their strongest connections based on common content, interests and intranet activity. The software also recommends colleagues to a user based on common community membership, tags and RSS subscriptions.