In a somewhat unsurprising move, given the tight relationship between the two companies, Microsoft announced yesterday that it will acquire Groove Networks, a leading provider of ad-hoc workgroup collaboration software. In addition, Groove Founder Ray Ozzie will become a Microsoft chief technology officer (CTO); Norman Judah and David Vaskevitch will also retain their CTO titles. Previously, Ozzie created a little program you might have heard of called Lotus Notes.
"The acquisition of Groove complements Microsoft's collaboration offerings to include real-time, server-based, and peer-to-peer solutions that address the ever-changing and more complex work environment," Jeff Raikes, group vice president of Microsoft's Information Worker Group, said. "Together, Microsoft and Groove will make anytime, anywhere collaboration a more natural and easy extension of how information workers coordinate their projects and document-centric work." The Groove technology will become part of Microsoft's Information Worker Group, which is responsible for Microsoft Office.
Groove's flagship product, Virtual Office, lets people in disparate physical locations work collaboratively over a network. Virtual Office provides workspaces through which workers can share files, host discussions, manage projects, and perform similar actions. The software complements technologies that Microsoft currently employs in products such as Microsoft Live Communications Server 2005 and Microsoft Office Communicator 2005, both of which the company announced earlier this week.
Based in Beverly, Massachusetts, Groove was founded in 1997 and has been a close Microsoft partner ever since. According to Groove, most company employees will continue to work in the Massachusetts office. The acquisition should be completed by June, Microsoft noted.