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IBM Paints The Social Scene

IBM is serious about getting in on the Internet's social scene at the enterprise level, and today the company announced developerWorks community spaces and Lotus Connections for Partners, initiatives that further strengthen IBM's hold in the market.

IBM developerWorks community spaces is a social network for developers who want to join a community around technology topics and business trends, such as software as a service, service-oriented architecture (SOA) and mashups, IBM director of worldwide channels Timothy Kounadis told internetnews.com.

The service will feature forums, blogs and wikis, Kounadis said, and there is no charge for participating.

Kounadis said IBM's other social initiative, IBM Lotus Connections for Partners, was designed to be a resource for business partners to create and share profile information that describes their businesses, find subject matter experts, share online information through social book marking and blogging, engage in collaborative business planning and join communities of interest.

He said the IBM Lotus Connections for Partners is based on Lotus Connections, social software for businesses, which IBM debuted in January at IBM Lotusphere. The company's plan is that partners will get used to the advantages the software provides and want it for their own internal use.

"We want to make sure partners are familiar with [Lotus Connections] and actually understand the power of it by experiencing the power of it," Kounadis said.

Today's announcement is more evidence that IBM is intent on dominating the enterprise social-networking space. In March, IBM Labs researchers demonstrated tools, upgrades and raw, experimental pieces of software spanning business intelligence, application integration, information sharing and other areas for social-networking use.

But Big Blue is not alone. The path technology can take from consumer use to the enterprise is well-traveled. Even a few Web 2.0 technologies have already migrated into business use.

In February, Google introduced Google Apps Premier Edition, a suite of hosted applications targeted at the same enterprise market traditionally dominated by Microsoft Office. Many of the products in the package, such as Gmail and Google Calendar were originally introduced as intended for consumers.

Cisco Systems is taking advantage of the trend, too. In February, the company bought privately held social-networking vendor Five Across, lending a hand to companies wanting to go the user-generated route.

Less than a month later, Cisco bought select assets of privately held Utah Street Networks, the operator of the social networking site Tribe.net. At the time, Cisco said it wasn't done buying social networking technology.