Whether it meant to or not, Google just responded to the Microsoft/Socialtext deal

Summary:Yesterday, as my colleague Dan Farber pointed out, when you merge Microsoft's Sharepoint with Socialtext namesake wiki, you get SocialPoint. Wrote Dan at the end of the post in which he interviews Socialtext CEO Ross Mayfield about the deal:In the meantime, Ross and his team of 30 employees will have to run hard to stay ahead of many competitors from the bottom and the top.

Yesterday, as my colleague Dan Farber pointed out, when you merge Microsoft's Sharepoint with Socialtext namesake wiki, you get SocialPoint. Wrote Dan at the end of the post in which he interviews Socialtext CEO Ross Mayfield about the deal:

In the meantime, Ross and his team of 30 employees will have to run hard to stay ahead of many competitors from the bottom and the top.

Well, say no more Dan. One day later, thanks to an acquisition by Google, one of those competitors -- JotSpot -- just went straight to the top of Socialtext and Microsoft's lists. News.com's Martin Lamonica has the details:

Google has bought JotSpot, a 3-year-old company with a system for building collaborative Web pages called wikis.

JotSpot co-founder and CEO Joe Kraus announced the acquisition on a blog Tuesday morning, saying that being part of search giant Google will give JotSpot access to "world-class" data centers and engineers....

....Google's efforts to offer hosted applications, such as word processors and spreadsheets, mesh with JotSpot's strategy to build online productivity applications, Kraus wrote.

"We watched them acquire Writely, and launch Google Groups, Google Spreadsheets and Google Apps for Your Domain. It was pretty apparent that Google shared our vision for how groups of people can create, manage and share information online," he wrote.

JotSpot's product is a platform for building wiki-based applications. For example, the company has an online spreadsheet and calendar that multiple people can edit....

....In an interview Tuesday morning, Kraus indicated that that the JotSpot team will work to link its wiki software with Google's current hosted applications.

Ironically, "Mayfield" is the name of one of the venture outfits that funded Jotspot.

For Google to get into wiki hosting is not an unexpected move. As the existence of SocialPoint proves, wiki technology has a lot of potential when it comes to enabling organizational collaboration around information. I'm a huge proponent of wikis and how, by virtue of them and blogs, RSS could easily be the next "intranet protocol."  In fact, it should be. About the only thing that doesn't quite fit in this deal is Google Spreadsheets. Google Spreadsheets are not wiki-enabled to the extent that JotSpots spreadsheets are. The two are different offerings and so, some reconciliation of the two will be required.

Afterthought: Had Microsoft been more aggressive on the idea of Office 2.0 and acquired JotSpot first, it might not be in the position it is now where, to match Google, it may have to figure out how to acquire or bring into the Microsoft-fold something that's culturally incompatible with Microsoft's primary mode of operation. "Acquiring" open source and taking it "closed" is very difficult to do. Moving forward, my sense is that Google, Yahoo and others will force Microsoft to not only consider the acquisition of open source-oriented companies and as a result, but also to leave them as open-source oriented properties. In other words, expect Microsoft to be more of an open source company down the road.

Topics: Google

About

David Berlind was fomerly the executive editor of ZDNet. David holds a BBA in Computer Information Systems. Prior to becoming a tech journalist in 1991, David was an IT manager.

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