Intel taking Web 2 app suite to enterprise

In yet another sign that Web 2.0 technologies are finding their way from the consumer space into workplace settings, Intel Corp. is spearheading the assembly of a software suite that includes blogging, wiki and content syndication software.

The product, called SuiteTwo, will feature software from SocialText Inc., NewsGator Technologies Inc., SimpleFeed Inc. and Six Apart Ltd., all considered part of the Web 2.0 wave of Internet application makers.

In general, Web 2.0 applications are those developed after the dot-com crash and sharing certain traits: they are usually built on open-standards architectures, are browser-based, employ reusable components, and focus on encouraging collaboration and interaction among users.

SpikeSource Inc. will support the suite and help Intel with its distribution. SuiteTwo will be aimed at small and medium size businesses initially, with plans to place it later in the enterprise market as well, said Lisa Lambert, managing director of the software and solutions group at Intel Capital, Intel’s venture capital organization.

This move proves that Web 2.0 applications, most of which were originally developed to serve the consumer market, are increasingly being adapted for use in organizations, said Michael Goulde, a Forrester Research Inc. analyst. “It’s the first time anybody has taken some of these new applications together and made them into a package that can be easily implemented,” Goulde said.

IT departments are becoming more and more familiar with these Web 2.0 applications but they aren’t entirely sure how to deploy them in a safe and controlled manner. “With a lot of them, after you download them, it’s up to you to support them, so [IT managers] are a little reluctant to make them a part of their regular business applications,” Goulde said. “So having the support behind these new applications is very important.”

Intel has chosen the applications well, since wikis, blogs and content syndication applications are proving very convenient and useful in workplace environments, Goulde said. For Intel, it’s good business to support any new technologies that users find useful.

Meanwhile, the application vendors obtain a powerful distribution channel into the business market that helps them gain access to customers they may not otherwise reach, Goulde said.

Intel plans to grow the suite to include podcasting, social networking and mobile applications, Intel’s Lambert said. SuiteTwo will be positioned as an integrated set of tools for internal and external business communications.

The applications have been given a single sign-on feature and a common user interface. Intel will initially optimize them for its server hardware, and later possibly for its desktop PC and mobile platforms, Lambert said.

Intel will encourage its partners, like resellers, distributors and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), to adopt the suite and bundle it with their products.

The suite will be available to early-access customers by the end of 2006, with broad availability expected in the first quarter of next year. It will run on server operating systems from Red Hat Inc., Novell Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

Intel will officially unveil SuiteTwo at a press conference on Tuesday at the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco.

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