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.

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