RealTime IT News

WebEx Wins Over Collab Suite

Making a play for small and medium business customers, online meeting giant WebEx announced today that it will pay $45 million in cash for Intranets.com.

The deal gives Santa Clara, Calif.-based WebEx, which competes against Microsoft's LiveMeeting service among others, a new suite of on-demand tools.

It also brings 300,000 new users in 10,000 companies, including advertising agencies, financial services firms, public relations groups, IT consulting offices and software development labs.

"This acquisition secures our position at the nexus of two fast-growing market segments: Web collaboration and on-demand applications," Subrah Iyar, CEO of WebEx, said in a statement.

Intranets.com's software suite, which is sold directly and through resellers, enables secure document sharing, group scheduling, task management, database applications, discussion forums and contact directories.

Typically, such tools are only available through enterprise software vendors, and at a price that would put them out of reach for most SMBs, WebEx said.

In an online presentation about the acquisition, WebEx executives noted that there are 10 million small businesses in the United States. The market is highly fragmented, however, and it's difficult to sell from traditional software models.

Provided the merger wins approval from regulators, the company will become a subsidiary of WebEx when the deal closes and remain in Burlington, Mass. For now it will keep its name.

No layoffs are planned, WebEx said. Also, Intranets CEO Rick Faulk and the executive team, most of whom have been together for six years, will stay on with WebEx and lead its small business efforts.

In the coming weeks, executives at both firms will begin to map out joint product roadmaps, WebEx said.