Microsoft gets in the Groove

Microsoft is to buy the software house Groove Networks for an undisclosed sum.

Beverly, MA-based Groove Networks was founded in 1997 by IBM/Lotus Notes creator Ray Ozzie. Since then, it has gone on to develop the Groove Virtual Office, a software suite tightly integrated with Microsoft’s software products that enables users to share information and manage projects.

Microsoft already has its own set of collaboration software tools. But these products – Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server and Windows SharePoint Services – only allow businesses to create and manage shared workspaces for individuals within a corporate IT network. Groove’s products, on the other hand, allow users to collaborate on group tasks and projects in highly decentralized situations – when working outside a corporate network and with limited or no access to a server.

After the deal is completed, the nearly 200-person Groove organization will continue to operate from its Beverly, MA headquarters as part of Microsoft’s Information Worker Group.

The acquisition is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2005. Groove will continue to operate as a separate company until regulatory requirements have been met and the acquisition is finalised.

A free trial edition of Groove Virtual Office is available at