Startups Vie for Their
Slice of the Collaboration Pie"> Startups want their piece of the action, too. Jive Software just banked $15 million in funding from Sequoia Capital to help bolster its Clearspace collaboration suite, which lets knowledge workers employ content creation tools, including blogs and wikis. Users can then discuss their work in a forum. Read more here about Jive Software.So, where does an IBM purchase of WebDialogs fit into the collaboration landscape? With the acquisition, IBM encroaches on the territories of Citrix Systems, Microsoft and Cisco, all of which offer Web conferencing. Cisco made the biggest splash in the market earlier in 2007 when it bought Web conferencing market leader WebEx for $2.9 billion. Ciscos WebEx buy suggests competition with Microsoft. Click here to read more. One could even argue that IBM, Microsoft and Cisco, despite Ciscos newness to the game, form a powerful collaboration pyramid, with the smaller vendors and startups looking to find a niche. The road to collaboration is paved by spirited competition and the lines between friend and foe are constantly blurring. For example, Cisco, the networking gear market leader, is looking to creep in on Microsofts collaboration software territory. Cisco has made no secret of this: Buying WebEx appeared to be a clear shot across Microsofts bow. Though staunch allies in several areas, the companies evolving relationship was underscored in an event in New York on Aug. 20. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Cisco CEO John Chambers discussed how both companies would continue to work together in some areas for mutual benefit, while competing fiercely in other areas. Click here to read more about the Ballmer and Chambers event. "They said, Were going to work together where we need to integrate our solutions, but they also said, Were going to compete," Forresters Driver said. "My takeaway from that is customers are pushing the two vendors to do what they have to do to get the unified communications working, but that Cisco and Microsoft will continue to overlap more and more heavily." As in any business, acquisitions are the quickest way to fill product gaps. Driver said she wouldnt be surprised if Cisco moved to buy e-mail and calendaring tools from somewhere to further flesh out its collaboration portfolio. "Microsoft and IBM have the core e-mail, calendaring and teamwork spaces, so they wouldnt make acquisitions there, but I could see Microsoft making acquisitions in some of the Web 2.0 areas because they only have basic stuff or tool kits," Driver said. Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
Open-source collaboration tools are also available. Zimbra and Open-Xchange, two startups that merit watching, offer open-source collaboration and messaging software, including e-mail, contacts and group calendar functions.