VMware buys collaboration enabler

Buy is third in series of collaboration-related acquisitions

VMware has acquired collaboration specialist Socialcast. VMware is itself a Socialcast client.

Socialcast's 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.

Organisations 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.

Socialcast's staff will continue to work on the product for VMware and VMware plans to continue offering the three current service delivery models and deliver product enhancements that are in the works.

VMware said the acquisition fits into its vision of supporting a shift in the way employees work. For the past few decades, personal computing has mimicked the pre-digitised 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," Herrod 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 Zimbra and SlideRocket. Zimbra offers an email 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, SAS and VMware.

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Tags technologySocialcastVMware

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