First Cisco bought WebEx. Last month IBM purchased client Web Dialogs. Now AT&T has made a "me too" type of acquisition with the purchase of Interwise.
Clearly this bodes well that the online collaboration space is hot and that the big companies want to be able to offer the full suite of services. In my mind this also pushes AT&T deeper into the IP applications space and further along the route of VoIP, Fixed Mobile, Unified Communications and all that we know is really happening.
This also signals a need for better mid range SMB collaboration products that bring a 2.0 mindset versus just how they are different from PSTN and flat whiteboard communications with video tossed in.
At the Office 2.0 conference I was disappointed at how none of the big players there like Intuit showed anything more than cloud based storage mixed with near real time collaboration (i.e. you post, I post, they post, etc.) and openly raised the question where was voice, presence and video. SightSpeed's new SMB offering that Wainhouse reported on in their August 29th newsletter pretty much summed up what that will do for the SMB market. SightSpeed is far different from these quickly developed Adobe Flash based video apps that are making the rounds. At DEMO DimDim showed me another Yuguma, Unyte style offering with Flash based video. Last week I saw another me too called valley start up with some big time VC dollars lined up. All these companies seem to be one trick "me too, me also" ponies trying to be in the space where the big boys (IBM, CISCO and now AT&T) are playing. After seeing three of these over the past few weeks SightSpeed offers Telepresence for everyone, and is a perfect entry to mid level offering for those who can't afford Halo from HP, LifeSize or what Cisco is selling that needs huge pipe and an IT manager 24/7. SightSpeed SMB doesn't need all that, but will provide that for a low monthly fee in a true 2.0 hosted play.
For companies like Adobe, Intuit, BEA, HP and Microsoft who also want to play in the same world they need to make some moves with either internal development or through acquisition of companies that allow them to make a difference something I expect Cisco to be doing in their own business unit and via Linksys eventually.