I just got done listening to the conference call from Bill Gates and Ray Ozzie talking about the Groove aquisition. No real bombshells or anything there, but I’ll outline some of the stuff they talked about:
- Ray is one of three CTO’s at Microsoft now and reports to Bill Gates. He is in charge of corporate-wide communications and collaboration. No one asked the question, but to me it would seem that means he owns Exchange now too.
- When asked why they grabbed Ray and made him a CTO, Bill responded that he had worked with Ray for a long time on such things as improving the Windows GUI and cryptography standards. He was also one of seven Windows pioneers that really helped speed the adoption of Windows.
- Bill also said he saw an opportunity to do better for information workers, especially in authentication and P2P security, and that Groove fit that bill nicely.
- Both Bill and Ray said it was a “big day” for them. I’m sure both of them liked twisting the knife in IBM a bit.
- Several times Ray said that server-based systems are still needed. Obviously not wanting to smack down Office servers.
- He also said that Microsoft now has like a holy-trinity (my words, not his) of centralized AND de-centralized products. Central is something like Sharepoint, Real-Time is Office Communicator and Live Communications Server and Desktop is Groove.
- When asked about financial details, Bill said he couldn’t comment as Groove was a private company.
- When asked whether support for other platforms and such would disappear now that MS owned them (really the only question that was NOT a softball) Ray said that interoperability is key, that products need to embrace all open standards and work with everything. This seems in stark contrast with his new employer, but this is something I think he WILL bring to the table.
- The Massachusett’s office of Groove is not moving. No major layoffs will happen. Redundant jobs will be looked at, but employees will be allowed to look for other jobs internally before any axe falls.
- New capabilities that Groove is working on include massive integration with Sharepoint (DUH) that will allow users to work with docs in and out of Sharepoint in an easy manner with Groove. Basically they want a user to easily open some form of Office document directly in Groove for editing and round-tripping it to the server with as little interaction from the user as possible. The other one is making the Groove codebase all around Visual Studio.net. Basically they are making the entire development environment around Groove and it’s add-in’s VS.Net based.
That’s pretty much what I gleaned from it. I’m pretty bummed that no-one brought up Notes or anything of that nature. I would have liked to hear their responses. Anyway, You can listed to a recorded version of the call yourself after 1:30 PM Eastern time today. Simply call 800-642-1687 through March 19th.