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Novell Pushes Deeper Into Collaboration Tech - InternetNews.
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Novell Pushes Deeper Into Collaboration Tech

Novell is moving farther into the collaboration market by acquiring SiteScape, an open source player in team workspaces -- and a partner in an existing joint offering.

As a result of the acquisition, terms of which were not disclosed, Novell plans to integrate SiteScape's technology into its core collaboration wares, which compete against IBM's Lotus Notes and Microsoft's Exchange, among others.

"We looked at it and decided now is the time to demonstrate our commitment to this market, do this acquisition and invest back into our collaboration business," said Kent Erickson, general manager for Novell's Workspace Solutions, told InternetNews.com.

[cob:Related_Articles]The purchase builds on an existing relationship between the two companies. SiteScape is best known as the vendor for the ICEcore open source collaboration project, a team workspace offering.

That product forms the crux of Novell's "Teaming + Conferencing" solution, which the two companies partnered to develop in 2007.

Erikson said he expects SiteScape's products will become a key part of Novell's workgroup portfolio, which also includes GroupWise.

As a result, the move may better position Novell GroupWise against rival offerings from the likes of Lotus and Microsoft.

As an open system, SiteScape's technology could also fit on top of other e-mail-based collaboration systems -- much like how the two companies' current Teaming + Conferencing solution integrates with both Notes and Exchange, ironically, in addition to GroupWise.

Novell also expects SiteScape to benefit its Open Enterprise Server (OES), which includes SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Erikson said running SiteScape on OES would provide a more complete workgroup solution.

Meanwhile, Erickson said ICEcore -- the open source project upon which SiteScope's technology is based -- would be expanded now that Novell is at the helm.

"We were instrumental to get that community started and it's really just stating," Erikson said. "Our job is to step in, nurture it and create so that community can work efficiently."

Unfortunately for Novell, the company doesn't have a solid track record when it comes to fostering open source mail collaboration efforts. In 2006, it dropped out of the Hula effort that had been originally founded on 200,000 lines of open sourced code from Novell's NetMail product.

ICEcore, however, shouldn't suffer the same fate, Erickson said.

"Hula was dedicated to helping people with co-coordinating scheduling information," he said. "I think the market is ready for something that is broader and that is in the open collaboration teamwork space. It's bringing together all of your e-mail, compliance, instant messaging, team management, advanced workflow and more. It's a whole different ballgame."