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7/10/2012
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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.

Questions About Microsoft's Acquisition of Yammer
Questions About Microsoft's Acquisition of Yammer
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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.

Oracle announced the purchase of Involver Tuesday, although a press spokesperson declined to say anything about it beyond what was published on its website. In May, Oracle bought Vitrue, another social marketing tools purveyor, for a reported $300 million. Oracle also recently purchased Collective Intellect, a maker of social media monitoring software geared to tracking customer comments and complaints, as part of a broader customer experience strategy.

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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.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard and facebook.com/thebyard

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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Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/11/2012 | 2:41:51 AM
re: Oracle Social Buying Spree Continues With Involver
The pace of acquisition by these two companies has been dizzying, with Oracle catching up to Salesforce.com in terms of the social capabilities it has added through acquiring companies. Salesforce.com's lead is pretty big.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
Social is a Business Imperative
Social is a Business Imperative
The use of social media for a host of business purposes is rising. Indeed, social is quickly moving from cutting edge to business basic. Organizations that have so far ignored social - either because they thought it was a passing fad or just didnít have the resources to properly evaluate potential use cases and products - must start giving it serious consideration.
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