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VMware buys Socialcast

It's VMware's third acquisition this year of an enterprise collaboration technology developer

By Nancy Gohring, IDG News Service
May 31, 2011 07:13 PM ET

IDG News Service - VMware has acquired Socialcast, its third acquisition this year of technology for enterprise collaboration, the company said on Tuesday.

Socialcast software brings together existing enterprise applications including Microsoft SharePoint and Outlook, as well as a microblogging tool and a discussion forum, in a single collaborative application. It's designed to make it easier for workers to find and share information.

Enterprises can buy Socialcast on a hosted basis, as a private cloud implementation or as an on-premise product built on a VMware virtual appliance. About 40 percent of Socialcast customers choose the on-premise version, Tim Young, founder and CEO of Socialcast, wrote in a blog post about the acquisition.

He and the rest of Socialcast's employees will continue to work on the product for VMware, he said. VMware plans to continue offering the three current service delivery models and deliver product enhancements that are in the works, he said.

VMware said the acquisition fits into its vision of supporting a shift in the way that people work today. For the past few decades, personal computing has mimicked the pre-digitized workforce, with inboxes and outboxes, folders and filing systems, Steve Herrod, VMware's chief technology officer, wrote in a blog post.

But now there are new approaches to collaboration that better take advantage of the Web. "For example, communication is increasingly iterative, with fine-grained interaction replacing letter-like back-and-forth," he wrote. Such communication often happens across dispersed groups of informally linked people, he said. Information created in such collaborations should only interrupt users at the right time and should be safely stored and searchable, he said.

"In summary, there is an opportunity for improved collaboration across a company that can drive new levels of productivity and employee satisfaction," he wrote.

The recent acquisitions are geared toward helping VMware enable this kind of collaboration.

In addition to Socialcast, VMware this year has purchased SlideRocket and Zimbra. Zimbra offers an e-mail and collaboration suite of products, and SlideRocket lets users create and share PowerPoint presentations.

VMware did not disclose the value of the Socialcast acquisition. Socialcast customers include Nokia, Avaya, Humana, Philips Electronics, SAS and, recently, VMware.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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