VMware announced today that it will acquire Socialcast, an enterprise microblogging and social network software-as-a-service. The move expands VMware's software-as-a-service portfolio, which also includes Zimbra, Mozy and SlideRocket. VMware is owned by EMC.
VMware has been expanding expanding its product line-up beyond virtualization in the past 18 months. It acquired the Web-based e-mail and office suite Zimbra from Yahoo in January of 2010. In April of this year it took control of Mozy and announced its cloud computing platform CloudFoundry. Later that month it acquired SlideRocket. This month it launched Horizon App Manager, a single sign-on service for various Web applications. App Manager is just one part of Project Horizon, VMware's cloud identity initiative.
"We're realizing there's a new way to work using cloud applications," says Brian Byun, VP of VMware's Cloud Applications business unit.He says Project Horizon is at the core of VMware's strategy for enterprise applications, but it's about more than just connecting companies to existing applications. It's about creating a whole new way of working.
When asked whether Socialcast and SlideRocket would become part of the Zimbra office suite, Byun said that VMware believes in the "Modular Web" and therefore the three services will remain distinct. However, he expects integrations will come soon. Socialcast wasn't one of the apps initially supported by Horizon App Manager, but he does expect Socialcast support to be added in the near future.
Earlier this month Gary Orenstein wrote at GigaOM that VMware is "new Microsoft" but without an operating system. Robert Scoble agreed. It's been a bit easy to forget Zimbra in the Google Apps vs. Microsoft Office 365 slugfest. Zimbra has been a bit quiet since VMware acquired it. But we have the feeling we'll be seeing more action coming from VMware's stable of Web applications in the near future.
It may not be as visible as competitors like Yammer and Salesforce.com Chatter, but Socialcast is one of the most successful enterprise microblogging companies out there, having landed companies like GM, NASA and Nokia as customers. Byun points out that even without a strong enterprise brand behind it Socialcast has built an impressive customer base. He expects that momentum to be even stronger thanks to VMware.
Socialcast has long been one of our favorite enterprise social software offerings. We called Socialcast one of our Top 10 Enterprise Products of 2009, and looked at how the company knocked it out of the park in 2010.
Socialcast is based in San Francisco and was founded in 2005. It was funded by True Ventures and Menlo Ventures.
Disclosure: VMware is a ReadWriteWeb sponsor