Microsoft to buy Groove Networks

It plans to add Groove's products to its Office line of products

Microsoft Corp. announced today that it is buying Groove Networks Inc. in Beverly, Mass., for an undisclosed sum. Groove, which makes collaboration software that can be used by people who are geographically dispersed, is the brainchild of Lotus Notes creator Ray Ozzie.

Microsoft plans to add Groove's products to its Office product line. Ozzie, a recognized visionary who helped found Lotus Software, will become Microsoft's chief technology officer, according to a statement from Microsoft.

Groove makes a wide range of software and development tools that allow geographically dispersed workers to collaborate over the Internet. The company's Virtual Office product allows workers to communicate and securely share information such as files, calendars, sketch pads, task lists, Web links and photos over the Internet.

Virtual Office maximizes Internet bandwidth and is tightly integrated with Microsoft's Outlook e-mail application and Office suite of products, according to Groove.

Groove's technology is expected to complement Microsoft's collaboration products, such as Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server and Windows SharePoint Services, as well as the newly announced Microsoft Office Communicator 2005, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server and Microsoft Office Live Meeting, according to a statement from Jeff Raikes, group vice president of Microsoft's information worker business

Acquiring Groove will give Microsoft a way to reach out to the growing number of companies with mobile workers and remote offices. In particular, Groove's technology for creating ad hoc workspaces will extend the reach of Microsoft's collaboration technology, allowing workers to communicate securely over the Internet and work in decentralized environments outside of the corporate network, Raikes said.

Upon completion of the acquisition, Groove will become part of Microsoft's information worker business but will continue to operate from its Beverly offices, Microsoft said.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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