Socialtext Free 50 is a free messaging and collaboration option for enterprise users. The mew tool is designed to lure more users to wiki provider Socialtext's enterprise application and keep them from IBM, Jive and MindTouch at a time when companies are struggling to keep costs low. Socialtext also rolls out a public beta of its SocialCalc spreadsheet and boosts Signals, its take on the Twitter microblogging tool.
Enterprise wiki pioneer
is extending an olive branch to customers in cost-constrained times,
offering a wiki
desktop application free for up to 50 users
within a business.
Announced at the Enterprise 2.0
show in Boston June 23, the Socialtext
Free 50 service will let employees create and invite users to private
collaboration networks using their work e-mail addresses at Socialtext.com.
Built on Adobe's AIR technology, the
Socialtext Free 50 service will let users communicate with coworkers using
Socialtext's usual suite of wikis, blogs, social networking tools and Signals,
the microblogging application that is the company's take on Twitter for office
TechCrunch's MG Siegler
notes that there are limitations,
including a single wiki workspace and limited support. Organizations that find
themselves requiring more seats from Socialtext can upgrade to the Socialtext
hosted service for $6 per user, per month. Larger companies requiring greater
security may find it more logical to license a Socialtext appliance for $1,000
per month, plus $1 or $5 per user based on if they want hosted or on-site
The question might be whether or not businesses feel they need to upgrade at
all to paid Socialtext services. One reason to upgrade would be if a business
were expanding its number of employees, something that seems less likely during
the current recession.
Socialtext may hope companies will glom on to the Free 50 service, ride out
the recession, then choose to expand and upgrade to Socialtext's paid services
as an alternative to comparable platforms from IBM,
MindTouch and Jive Software.
Socialtext June 23 also rolled out SocialCalc as a public beta.
Unveiled at the 2008 Enterprise 2.0 show,
SocialCalc is a spreadsheet
program that can be dumped into a wiki to help business users compile and
compare data. Individuals can work on their own sections and are provided with
a dashboard, an audit trail of changes and update notifications. SocialCalc is
available free to Socialtext Hosted and Appliance customers.
Socialtext also improved Signals, adding a new full-screen interface and private
messages. Most importantly, the tool is now integrated across the Socialtext
Platform to keep employees signaling.
While just a feature tool in a broader platform, the popularity of
microblogging tools can't be understated, evidenced by Twitter's meteoric rise
in the last two years. Twitter's success has spawned startups such as Yammer,
Presently and Socialcast, and has spurred more entrenched players such as
Socialtext and even IBM to give customers access to microblogging
Indeed, collaboration startup Central Desktop June 22 rolled out
a microblogging tool as part of its SAAS (software as a service) collaboration