November 8, 2006
Intel has partnered with a group of Web 2.0 companies to form a suite of Web software that will help small and medium businesses share information, the company announced Tuesday.
Intel and its partners made the announcement at the annual Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco, which brings together all the players in the movement popularly known as “Web 2.0.” This is the second wave in the Internet phenomenon which allow consumers to create their own dynamic web pages, collaborate with others, and share photos and videos.
Known as Suite Two, it is a combination of interconnected services from different Web 2.0 companies that aims to improve productivity within small and medium-sized businesses. Intel wants to bring consumer technologies to businesses, the company said.
“The idea is to develop a suite which includes capabilities like blogging, wikis, and RSS,” said Lisa Lampert, managing director of Intel Capital’s Software and Solutions Group. Intel Capital is the venture arm of the world’s largest chipmaker and has investments in several companies that are enabling the Web 2.0 phenomenon such as SixApart, SpikeSource, and Zend Technologies.
SixApart and SpikeSource will form a large part of the Suite Two offering, other than SocialText, NewsGator, and SimpleFeed.
SpikeSource will provide the integration platform for Suite Two which will bring together infrastructure and applications together. SixApart is a provider of blogging software and Socialtext sells software that helps companies collaborate through wikis—or private web pages that are editable instead of sending emails and attachments back and forth.
NewsGator and SimpleFeed will be providing RSS capabilities—for Really Simple Syndication—to access external news and industry information.
This suite will operate on PC-based hardware and all the services will be integrated with a single sign-on and a rich user interface seen on most consumer web sites. The suite will be released in early 2007 and available through Intel’s global channel of OEMs, distributors, and resellers. It will run on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SuSe Linux, and Microsoft Windows operating systems, the company said.
Intel is investing in these companies and solutions to ensure that these next-generation technologies work well on Intel-based hardware, Ms. Lampert said.
Intel and its partners are banking on the fact that small and medium businesses do not have IT departments and need external, plug-and-play solutions to run their businesses while also adopting new technologies, said SpikeSource CEO Kim Polese.
The price structure is relatively lower at $175 to $200 per user per year to drive adoption within SMBs. Socialtext CEO Ross Mayfield said these technologies are being used in large corporations and SMBs should benefit from them, too.
“You have projections such as 50 percent of companies will be using wikis by 2008 and 80 percent of them will be using blogs,” Mr. Mayfield said. “This is particularly driven by how popular Web 2.0 tools are on the consumer side; you are seeing some grassroots demand and for organizations [like ours] to fulfill the demand.”
Intel’s Ms. Lampert said the above-mentioned features will be available in the first release and forthcoming releases will add more advanced features such as social networking, podcasting, and mobility. Intel is working with leaders in each of these new categories to partner for the Suite Two offering, she said