Microsoft Wraps Up PlaceWare Purchase

Microsoft Wednesday finalized its acquisition of Mountain View, Calif.-based PlaceWare.

The Redmond, Wash.-based conglomerate said the Web conferencing software firm would become a wholly owned subsidiary, joining its newly formed Real Time Collaboration Group. Microsoft’s Greenwich instant messaging division is also lumped into the new group.

Microsoft has said its ultimate plan is to make the audio/visual application as commonplace as e-mail or instant messaging is today.

“With the acquisition of PlaceWare now complete, the newly formed Real-Time Collaboration Business Unit moves forward with an even stronger team and best of breed solution allowing real-time communications and collaboration from anywhere, anytime,” said Microsoft vice president of its Real-Time Collaboration Business Anoop Gupta said in a statement. “Together, we will help customers incorporate real-time communications into the fabric of their daily work activities and achieve substantial productivity gains while reducing costs.”

Alongside Gupta, Microsoft said PlaceWare’s leadership team will include:

  • Gurdeep Singh Pall – General Manager, Real-Time Messaging & Platform
  • Amit Mital – General Manager, Web Conferencing
  • Dana Manciagli – General Manager, Real-Time Collaboration Sales
  • Zig Serafin – Senior Director, Business Development & Strategy
  • Dustin Grosse – Senior Director, Marketing
  • Jawaid Ekram – Senior Director, Operations

Originally Microsoft began its Web conferencing path with NetMeeting, which developed into a conferencing service available through its Exchange servers. Going forward, the company said its clients and prospects can also look forward to a new release of PlaceWare Conference Center 5.0, which includes a new native Windows client console, currently planned to be available in the summer of 2003.

Grosse and Ekram are the only upper management survivors from the PlaceWare team. In an exclusive interview last month, CEO George Garick told that he intends to focus on another company at a growth stage that has a product with some momentum.

“I am extremely proud of the success we realized at PlaceWare that brought us to this point with Microsoft,” Garrick said in a statement. “The closing of the acquisition represents new and exciting opportunities for our joint customer base, our employees as well as for the future of real-time collaboration technologies.”

Gupta and the leadership team will be based in Redmond. The PlaceWare sales force will work in partnership with the Microsoft World Wide Sales Organization. The company said it would continue its current contracts with PlaceWare’s existing customers.

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