Oracle Social Buying Spree Continues With Involver
Oracle adds Involver to Vitrue, Collective Intellect, and RightNow, acquisitions that seem particularly focused on keeping pace with Salesforce.com.
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The acquisitions duel between Oracle and Salesforce.com over social and collaboration software is continuing this week, with Oracle's purchase of Involver and Salesforce.com's reported pending acquisition of GoInstant.
Like Buddy Media, which Salesforce.com bought in June for $689 million, and like Vitrue, Involver helps marketers create landing pages and applications that can be embedded on Facebook and other social media websites. However, although there may be some overlap between Vitrue and Involver, Oracle is particularly stressing its interest in the SML social markup language Involver created, which gives Web designers and developers a greater degree of freedom over the content they create to be embedded in a social site. Involver provides a library of social applications, which its customers can modify to suit their needs, and it has also created a Visual SML tool for developers.
Oracle and Salesforce.com seem to have fallen into a pattern of making news in this area on alternate days of the week. The two compete in customer relationship management, with the emphasis increasingly shifting to online and social sales and customer service. According to a Wall Street Journal report on Monday, Salesforce.com is on the verge of buying GoInstant for more than $70 million, although nothing official has been announced. GoInstant's co-browsing software makes it possible for a customer service representative to browse a website along with a customer--not through screen sharing, but as a shared session where the representative might help a customer complete a form, for example--and does this all without requiring a plugin.
This pattern has been intensifying since last year, when Salesforce.com stepped up its focus on social business with the introduction of Chatter and the acquisition of Radian6. Oracle countered with the acquisition of RightNow, in part for its ability to connect and service customers through social media interaction.
Every company needs a social networking policy, but don't stifle creativity and productivity with too much formality. Also in the debut, all-digital Social Media For Grownups issue of The BrainYard: The proper tools help in setting social networking policy for your company and ensure that you'll be able to follow through. (Free with registration.)
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