WebEx Tools Get Intranets Infusion

By Shelley Solheim  |  Posted 2005-08-08

Web conferencing application provider WebEx Communications Inc. is expanding its reach to smaller businesses with its $45 million cash acquisition of Intranets.com Inc.

Both vendors sell collaboration tools via the software-as-a-service model, where users require only a Web browser. Intranets.com provides collaboration tools such as document sharing, calendaring and discussion forums on a monthly subscription basis, mostly to businesses with fewer than 100 employees. WebEx, which has sold mainly into larger businesses, will offer its collaboration tools for online meetings with Intranets.coms collaboration suite for SMBs (small and midsize businesses), said WebEx officials in Santa Clara, Calif.

Intranets.com had recently begun offering Web conferencing tools licensed from Netspoke Inc. but going forward will offer the WebEx online meeting service.

"Were redesigning the [WebEx online meeting] product and taking out some of the features that the SMB market really doesnt care about, for example, video, which is nice for larger businesses but not necessarily needed in the SMB market," said Rick Faulk, CEO of Intranets.com, in Burlington, Mass.

Intranets.com also plans to integrate other WebEx technologies into its collaboration tools, said Faulk.

One Intranets.com user said she could see the need for such new functions, as long as Intranets.com maintains its affordability and ease of use. "We do a lot of meetings that require some kind of online or conference calling feature," said Allyson OConnor, CEO and founder of event management company NxtEvent, based in Gloucester, Mass. NxtEvent uses Intranets.com collaborative tools for storing business documents, sharing ideas and as a virtual office for employees who are off-site at events.

Intranets.com has about 300,000 subscribers and 10,000 sites, many of which are smaller businesses it reaches through online channels.

The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the month. Intranets.coms 80 employees will remain in Burlington.

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