Yesterday, Microsoft suddenly announced its acquisition of Groove Networks, and that Groove CEO Ray Ozzie will become one of the three CTOs at Microsoft, specifically charged with championing Microsoft's collaboration strategy. I say suddenly because, just two days before, Microsoft made public its collaboration strategy with Office Communications server 2005, and Office Live Communications Server 2005. No mention of Groove then. Why now?

We will certainly learn more about this in the days and months to come. While I am delighted to see increased competition and energy in the collaborative space, I'm not sure this is such a good move for Groove, Microsoft, or their customers. At a minimum, it seems that once again, Microsoft has introduced a new uncertainty to their collaboration strategy mix, something that IT managers will have to wrestle with as they plan for the future.

Michael Sampson, research director at Shared Spaces Research & Consulting attended yesterday's briefing with Bill Gates, Jeff Raikes, and Ray Ozzie; he's put up an informative and thought-provoking post on his site.

In an upcoming podcast, Michael and I will discuss this announcement and what we think it means.

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