16 April 2002 Groove networks, a peer-to-peer software developer, has begun shipping the latest version of its software, Groove 2.0.
One of the potentially most useful features of the new suite is that it now allows Microsoft Office users to dynamically share documents between Microsoft Office, Outlook and Microsoft’s application development environment, Visual Studio .NET.
Groove 2.0 also includes enhancements to its enterprise management and security capabilities, which Forrester Research believes will make the Groove collaboration platform more attractive for large corporate deployments.
However, while praising Groove’s technical advances, Forrester analyst Bruce Temkin believes the company “won’t get beyond its niche peer-to-peer status until it beefs up its marketing and distribution”. He suggests that Groove 2.0 should go beyond just integrating with Office, and come bundled with the Office suite.
“Microsoft should embrace the platform as the backbone of Office XP,” says Forrester, to cement Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint’s positions as the “de facto distributed productivity apps”.
Temkin says that, should Microsoft disapprove of this idea, Groove should turn to AOL, which needs to improve its secure document sharing capabilities. In October 2001, Microsoft invested $51 million (€58m) in Groove Networks, and the two companies agreed to work together on peer-to-peer and web services projects.
Groove also needs a “blockbuster deal” with a large enterprise applications software vendor such as SAP, and not just with small-scale ISVs (independent software vendors), says Forrester. According to the research group, while all enterprise applications vendors talk about collaborative technologies, “their offerings don’t match Groove’s user-friendly distributed architecture”.
On the other hand, Groove currently requires a hefty 20MB download. Forrester recommends that the company redesigns its client application as an executable Internet application to increase online distribution and viral adoption.