Home Weekly Wrapup, 17-21 September 2007

Weekly Wrapup, 17-21 September 2007

Here is a summary of the week’s Web Tech action on Read/WriteWeb. Note that you can subscribe to the Weekly Wrapups, either via the special RSS feed or by email.

Web News

Yahoo! Drops $350m on Zimbra; an Open Source, Enterprise RIA

The big news this week was Yahoo! buying open-source enterprise office vendor Zimbra for $350 million in cash.

The company’s alternative to Microsoft’s Exchange server includes: webmail, a desktop client, contact management, calendaring, word processing, spreadsheets, Salesforce integration and a reportedly strong mobile component. Look out Google and Microsoft! We reviewed Zimbra in detail last year. Zimbra was an early force in bringing AJAX to the enterprise and adoped an RIA model in March, including both online and offline modes.

See also Richard MacManus’ analysis of the news: Zimbra: Why Did Yahoo Buy Them?

Confirmed: Google Presentations

The other big web tech news of the week was Google announcing its much anticipated Powerpoint competitor. It has been added to Google Docs – the new, simpler name for “Google Docs & Spreadsheets”. With the new Presentations feature, users can create “simple web-based presentations”. The functionality is similar to the other Google Docs features (word processing and spreadsheets) – with sharing, revisions, etc. Note that Presentations is also available as part of the Google Apps suite of tools.

It was a busy week with Google news. Also check out:

Mozilla Launches New Email and Communications Organization, Similar to Firefox

This week Mozilla announced a new organization to develop Internet mail and communications software. It will use the open source email desktop client Thunderbird as a base – the product, code and brand. Technically this will be a Mozilla Foundation subsidiary – and it is very similar to Mozilla’s Firefox effort. Just as Firefox aims to give choice in the browser space, this new initiative will try and advance email and communications technology. As with Firefox, the aim is to create a robust developer ecosystem to encourage open source development and community innovation. Mozilla will provide US$3 million seed funding to establish this new company.

Also this week the Techcrunch 40 Conference caught peoples attention. Check out our session-by-session coverage.

Web Products

Lunarr Launches Thought Provoking Collaboration Tool – With Issues

This week Lunarr launched a deceptively simple looking collaboration platform tomorrow. Writes Marshall Kirkpatrick: Lunarr aims to solve two problems: version confusion and lost email conversations. The company’s solution is like a wiki with site-mail, but there’s a certain elegance to how it’s implemented. The service has some real shortcomings, but given its Alpha state there’s time for improvement. If you’d like to check it out yourself, send an email to [email protected] to request an account.

Soup: Tumble Blogging with Friends

Watch out Tumblr, here comes Soup. Writes Josh Catone: Soup is an easy to use tumble blogging application that includes two killer features: social networking (kinda) and outside activity streams. It’s sort of a cross between Tumblr, Pownce, and a social activity aggregator. At its core, Soup is a microblogging app, and a pretty easy to use one. Their tumble blog set up supports text, link, quote, image, and video posts. Sign up is a snap (you can actually begin posting to your tumble blog before creating an account), and like Tumblr, Soup blogs can be mapped to an outside domain.

Netscape’s Propeller is Changing More Than You Might Think

AOL’s social news site relaunched this week under the new name Propeller. No longer “the new Netscape”, Propeller seems on face like a clone of a clone. There may, though, be much more going on underneath the surface. Read Marshall Kirkpatrick’s analysis in this post for more details.

See also:Digg Getting More Social

You can find many other startup profiles in our Startups category.


Fear of Web 2.0

Enterprises continue to adopt web technologies and ‘web 2.0’ trends, but there are two common threads to this adoption. One is that web technologies are step-by-step being adopted by enterprises, but they aren’t yet ready to usurp many desktop software apps. The Google Apps vs Microsoft Office debate currently raging is proof of that. The second thread is that enterprises have a fear of web 2.0 tools being mis-used by their employees. Forrester Research released two reports that address this ‘fear of Web 2.0’ (our term, not theirs). This post analyzes those two reports.

Semantic Web: Difficulties with the Classic Approach

Part 1 of a two-part series this week by Alex Iskold. Alex wrote: The original vision of the semantic web as a layer on top of the current web, annotated in a way that computers can “understand,” is certainly grandiose and intriguing. Yet, for the past decade it has been a kind of academic exercise rather than a practical technology. This article explores why; and what we can do about it.

Top-Down: A New Approach to the Semantic Web

Part 2 of Alex’s series argues that a more pragmatic, top-down approach to the semantic web not only makes sense, but is already well on the way toward becoming a reality. Many companies have been leveraging existing, unstructured information to build vertical, semantic services. Unlike the original vision, which is rather academic, these emergent solutions are driven by business and market potential.

This post looks at the solution that we call the top-down approach to the semantic web, because instead of requiring developers to change or augment the web, this approach leverages and builds on top of current web as-is.

You can find more R/WW analysis posts here.

R/WW Network Blogs


Check out a wrap of the week’s Digital Lifestyle news on last100. This week’s news was dominated by announcements from the major U.S. televisions networks, relating to their developing Internet TV strategies. CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves talked up the company’s relationship with Apple’s iTunes Store; NBC announced that they will be launching a new TV catchup service called ‚ÄúNBC Direct‚Ä? which will enable users to download and view some of the network‚Äôs more popular shows, free of charge, for up to one week after broadcast; ABC has begun streaming some of its most popular shows on Time Warner-owned AOL; and Fox are offering free downloads of season premieres of seven of its shows through iTunes.

Alt Search Engines

AltSearchEngines did a debate this week on Algorithms vs. Interfaces, a hot topic in search blogs right now. ASE editor Charles Knight says that Google has the most sophisticated Algorithm, the fastest crawlers, the largest Index, the brightest engineers, and the most money of any Search company on the planet. This, their strength, is almost incalculably ahead of the pack. However ASE contributer Nitin Karandikar argues that if another company starts off with a different architecture, a new technology, Google will not be able to retro fit theirs successfully. What are your thoughts? Hop over to ASE if this debate lights your fire.


This week Sean Ammirati of Read/WriteTalk – our new podcast show – sat down with Salim Ismail, the head of Yahoo’s Brickhouse. They discussed the future of the web, e-commerce 2.0 and more.

That’s a wrap for another week! Enjoy your weekend everyone.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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