Microsoft, Groove Deal Makes Sense All Around

 
 
By David Coursey  |  Posted 2005-03-10 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Opinion: Microsoft's acquisition of Groove Networks helps both companies, but customers most of all will win when the inventive peer-to-peer technology becomes a part of Microsoft Office.

Microsofts acquisition of Groove Networks isnt a case of "why?" as much as "why now?" or even "why so long?" Groove founder Ray Ozzie, now Microsofts chief technology officer, is a genius with a knack for creating products that everyone realizes are great, but that are also too revolutionary to be widely adopted. Lotus Notes, his best-known invention, certainly qualifies in that category. Groove is easier for customers to implement and does more useful things, but is still "out there" just a bit.
Read more here about Microsofts acquisition of Groove Networks.
Ozzie has received much more technological acclaim than he has achieved commercial success. Microsoft is about to bring Ozzies inventive peer-to-peer technology to a much wider audience as part of applications they already use. I wonder for how long the exit strategy at Groove has been, "And then Bill arrives with the money"? Was it since the very beginning, in 1997, when Ozzie and members of the Notes development team left Lotus/IBM to form Groove? Or was it since 2001, when the first Microsoft investment was made? Or maybe 2003, when more Microsoft Money arrived?
And is it the purchase part of Microsofts information worker initiative, or a response to dwindling cash at Groove? Had Groove accomplished as much as it possibly could as a stand-alone company? Probably all of the above. Whatever else may be true, Groove had built a nice platform, albeit one that would never sell in large quantities without the kind of help only Microsoft could provide. The acquisition makes tremendous sense for both companies, but especially for customers, who can expect to see Grooves peer-to-peer functionality become part of Microsoft Office and show up, perhaps, in other places as well. Does Groove Virtual Office 3.0 ease group work? Click here for a review. My experience with Groove has been that many people who would benefit from the technology are turned off by having to learn a new application. Thanks to this deal, they will no longer have to. But when that will happen—with the integration of Groove into Microsoft products—has not been announced. The other thing of note, and Bill Gates made comments to this effect, is that Ray Ozzie has belonged at Microsoft for a long time. As one of three CTOs (I guess Microsoft has enough "T" to require three "C"s) at Microsoft, Ozzies imaginative solutions to complex problems could find their way into a much broader range of information-worker tools. Microsofts purchase of Groove is a good thing all around. But now that Im thinking about it, why did it take Microsoft so long to make the deal? Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
 
 
 
 
One of technology's most recognized bylines, David Coursey is Special Correspondent for eWeek.com, where he writes a daily Blog (blog.ziffdavis.com/coursey) and twice-weekly column. He is also Editor/Publisher of the Technology Insights newsletter and President of DCC, Inc., a professional services and consulting firm.

Former Executive Editor of ZDNet AnchorDesk, Coursey has also been Executive Producer of a number of industry conferences, including DEMO, Showcase, and Digital Living Room. Coursey's columns have been quoted by both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and he has appeared on ABC News Nightline, CNN, CBS News, and other broadcasts as an expert on computing and the Internet. He has also written for InfoWorld, USA Today, PC World, Computerworld, and a number of other publications. His Web site is www.coursey.com.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
 
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters























 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date
Rocket Fuel