The acquisition continues a recent cloud application buying binge by VMware, which also recently picked up SlideRocket and Zimbra. Socialcast competes in the market for private communication and collaboration systems that mimic the interaction style of social networks, but with the security, management, and integration functions of an enterprise system. Socialcast applications are available as software as a service, but enterprises can also get an on-premises version for deployment behind the firewall in the form of a VMware virtual appliance (an application image designed to be loaded onto a virtualization host server). In a blog post on the acquisition, Socialcast CEO Tim Young noted that the appliance is the deployment vehicle of choice for about 40% of his firm's customers.
"VMware and Socialcast are a natural fit for each other," Young wrote. "Both companies seek to transform the way that employees work in an increasingly mobile, virtual landscape. We share the same vision for the future of collaboration--secure access to data, access on-the-go via mobile devices and remote workspaces, and support for modern work streams that are increasingly more iterative and interconnected."
Socialcast has won customers like SAS Institute with the flexibility and capabilities of its social media platform for corporate communication and collaboration. VMware was also a customer, as are large companies like Avaya, Humana, Nokia, and Philips Electronics.
Young said Socialcast will continue to pursue the same product vision, now with the support of VMware to help it reach a broader audience. Product support will continue to be offered through Socialcast channels for the time being, but eventually will be provided through the VMware support organization, he said.
VMware Chief Technology Officer Steve Herrod welcomed Socialcast with his own blog post on VMware's goal of "changing the way we work." He cited four main capabilities that make Socialcast attractive: the Socialcast Reach integration technology for adding social capabilities to wikis and SharePoint, secure support for mobile devices, the ability to choose between on premises and cloud deployment, and the opportunity to build new enterprise applications on the Socialcast platform.
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