Business Week focuses on the Lotus Connections announcement, but touches all of the news...

IBM is in fierce competition with Microsoft (MSFT) in the markets for communications and collaboration software, and the Lotus Connections offering could give it a leg up--at least temporarily. Last November, Microsoft introduced a new version of its collaboration software, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007, which includes some basic social networking technologies, including blogs and wikis.  However, analysts say Lotus Connections offers richer functions than SharePoint and it's easier for workers to get going with the IBM product. "Ventura (the code name for Lotus Connections) is a more sophisticated social computing platform than what you get with Microsoft," says analyst Erica Driver of market researcher Forrester Research. ...

IBM has more than 20 corporations testing Lotus Connections, but, in fact, the software is already battle-tested. Most of the applications have been used inside IBM for months or years. For instance, with IBM's internal "blue pages" program, employees can search through the entire staff of more than 340,000 people for those with just the expertise they need to answer a question. The company decided just nine months ago to fold those technologies together and turn them into commercial products. "We were hearing so much marketplace buzz and so much was going on in Web 2.0, and it was clear we had an opportunity to build something for the enterprise," says Jeff Schick, vice-president, social computing for IBM's Lotus division.
Link: Business Week: IBM's Social Networking Push >

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