Socialcast Acquired By VMware

Tim Young announces Socialcast acquisition by VMware.

Sounds like the team will be staying:

Most importantly, the people of Socialcast are going to continue to be here to guide your deployments, offer advice, provide support, and build a relationship with you. Both the leadership and employee base will continue to work on the Socialcast product. Our people are our strongest asset, and you’ll enjoy the same relationship you always have.

I am eager to get an update from Tim on his direction, and how this plays in VMware’s recent acquisition spree, including SlideRocket.

Steve Herrod, VMWare’s CTO, says some smart things about the future of work media:

First, let’s step back and look at today’s approach to enterprise communication. For the last 30 years, personal computing has primarily focused on automating the metaphors of the pre-digitized workplace including the “inbox” and “outbox” tray, manila folders, and printed documents. We’ve largely replaced printed memos, mail carts, and filing cabinets with documents, email, and file shares. These tools have dramatically improved our productivity, but the increasing volume of information can be overwhelming and requires manual prioritization and organizational work to keep up with this data deluge.

While traditional mail- and document-centric interaction will certainly remain critical, there are new approaches to collaboration taking root that better exploit the paradigms of the web. For example, communication is increasingly iterative, with fine-grained interaction replacing letter-like back-and-forth. Furthermore, these activity streams increasingly take place across dispersed groups of informally linked collaborators rather than following the boundaries of a formal organization hierarchy. And in today’s frantic world, the information in these activity streams should only interrupt the right people at the right time… and of course be safely archived and searchable. In summary, there is an opportunity for improved collaboration across a company that can drive new levels of productivity and employee satisfaction.


Over the last 3 years, Socialcast has been growing rapidly and garnering the reputation as a true visionary in the enterprise collaboration space. By focusing on people and their work habits, they have developed a platform deployed by some of the world’s largest companies to facilitate communication and collaboration across the entire enterprise. The Socialcast team has achieved this success by delivering the key elements of next-generation enterprise collaboration… real-time activity streams, a social graph of the entire enterprise, and the ability to participate in contextual- and purpose-oriented groups. These are fairly standard elements in this space, but there are four traits that make Socialcast particularly special:

  1. Rich integration capabilities
  2. Safe Collaboration wherever you work
  3. On- and Off-premise deployment
  4. A platform for new collaborative applications

I wrote an analysis of Socialcast last year, now summarized at my new site, where I said:

Socialcast has developed a social streaming application based on groups and activity streams, and then proceeded to pour the company’s energies into making it a platform for socially instrumenting the various applications that an enterprise might be running its business on. With the Reach release, Socialcast has demonstrated that it is possible to unite a wide variety of applications – that themselves may lack streams or other capabilities associated with social tools – and therefore allow a company to connect all its functions through activity streams.

The only downside of this strategy is that Socialcast is likely to be evaluated – in part, at least – by the third party applications that it relies on to perform functional work, like CRM and HR. By relying on best-of-breed partners, like SugarCRM, Confluence and Taleo, those considerations are minimized. However, it is also possible that some of these current or potential partners – like Salesforce, Jive, and others – may themselves be jockeying for the role of the core social platform. I see a great deal of possible conflict, here, but it is not limited to Socialcast: it is a market-wide conflict.

And that is apparently a conflist that VMware wants to wade into.

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