By now many of you are aware that Microsoft is moving their 2010 suite of Office apps to the web in what is seen as a direct challenge to Google Apps. I won’t go into the details but you can read TechCrunch‘s ‘The Complete Guide To Microsoft’s Office 2010‘ to find more about what is being offered. I think it is a great idea and certainly many users will benefit from the new functionality as long as all goes as planned.
CrunchGear ran a story the following day titled ‘Socialtext Microblogging Appliance is Twitter in a box‘. Basically, it is a rack mounted piece of hardware that comes loaded with Socialtext tools which marginally resemble Twitter, Facebook, and various other apps all rolled into one. The beauty of this rig is that you control the data and instead of having your employees dialoguing on outside servers or in public and you can offer them nearly the same set of tools within the safe confines of your firewall.
I am pretty much convinced that basic office productivity tools like email will continue to spin off into the cloud while a large amount of internal social data will continue to be siloed on corporate servers. An example of this is Yammer although it really is only partial solution as your data still resides on Yammer servers. Laconica is closer to a pure solution and I honestly think that a BuddyPress like app will enable more and more employees to Facebook from the safe confines of their own corporate social networks. Socialtext aims to knock the ball out of the park with one big box.
So, why not let Microsoft and Google do the heavy lifting and save your rack space for lighter tools like Laconica, BuddyPress and perhaps Socialtext? As more and more companies rush to get into the cloud there’s bound to be a bit of room left over in the backroom and companies like Socialtext are dying to fill that space.