Continuing from Dan Farber's news post regarding Atlassian, the enterprise wiki space just changed. Speaking with Jeffrey Walker, president of Atlassian and the software industry's Lance Armstrong, it is clear today's partnership between Atlassian and Microsoft is a big deal:
The curious thing is they came to us. The conversation started with Don Dodge explaining that Microsoft is looking for partners in Web white spaces and it went from there. They were surprisingly easy with which to do business.
Unlike the marketing partnerships we usually see, this one has genuine utility. The ability to connect between Sharepoint and Atlassian's Confluence is real, providing single sign-on, search, content sharing and linking between the two applications. From Atlassian's perspective, it provides the company with a market leading brand to which it can hitch its sales wagon. As Jeffery says:
You have to go with the numbers. We're a $25 million business and despite all the noise around Web 2.0, Microsoft remains the largest market brand for business. It's a no-brainer.
From Microsoft's standpoint, the deal gives it a piece of Web 2.0 credibility without having to touch its own products. This is a smart move for a company that has struggled to explain its 'software plus services' message. More important, Microsoft is showing a willingness to partner with companies that are not Windows based. Atlassian is Java based. I asked James Governor, co-founder of analyst company Redmonk for his opinion:
In its partnering strategy, Microsoft seems far less obsessed in killing its platform competitors. Not everyone else has to fail. Sharepoint is growing like a weed in a lot of organizations. It has interesting implications for other in the wiki space - SocialText being an example.
James raises an interesting question. SocialText, once the poster child for enterprise wiki suddenly looks like an also ran. Despite its partnership with Intel for its SuiteTwo initiative, the company has been quiet about marquee customer wins.
It will be interesting to see how the Microsoft-Atlassian pogo dance works out. Watch this space.