Microsoft, Groove Plan to Integrate Apps

Microsoft Corp.'s $51 million investment in Groove Networks Inc. will bear fruit this fall with the planned release of an integration kit that's designed to help end users collaborate on projects.

The companies last week announced that Groove's flagship Workspace peer-to-peer software is being integrated with Microsoft's SharePoint Team Services. SharePoint is a server-based technology that's being built into Windows and other Microsoft products to facilitate collaboration by project team members via a shared Web site.

Groove's integration kit will let users work off-line and then automatically synchronize data with their team's Web site. It also aims to let users work securely across firewalls at different companies. But all users must run the 24MB Workspace client, Groove said.

The standard edition of the client sells for $49, and the professional edition costs $99. A Groove spokesman said the Beverly, Mass.-based company hasn't decided if it will charge for the integration kit.

Microsoft invested in Groove last October . Workspace and SharePoint are "a wonderful product match," said Bruce Temkin, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. But last week's announcement "represents almost no commitment on Microsoft's part," he added. For example, Microsoft doesn't plan to sell the joint product, Temkin said.

But SharePoint product manager Trina Seinfeld said many groups within Microsoft are talking to Groove about its software. "I think you'll see more and more ways we're working together with Groove," she said.

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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