While there is lots of press about the consumer social networking space, there is also movement in the corporate social networking arena. IBM has been watching the development of social networks for awhile now and participating heavily in virtual worlds and other 2.0 like activities. Microsoft on the other hand has been relatively quiet on what they are doing other than saying Sharepoint and Exchange are the future. This gap was highlighted a couple of days ago during an Enterprise 2.0 Faceoff between IBM and Microsoft at the Boston Enterprise 2.0 conference. CIO Australia had a good run down of the event which in summary showed:
While both vendors showed their products could integrate with existing e-mail systems (especially e-mail systems that they sell, such as Notes and Exchange), IBM’s Lotus Connections looked, at minimum, a year or more ahead of SharePoint in its social computing capabilities out of the box.
What is really interesting is today I see 2 posts, one from ComputerWorld and the other by Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet about a new corporate social networking tool, Townsquare, coming out of Office Labs, an internal Microsoft incubator. It seems TownSquare has been tested by up to 8,000 Microsoft employees and according to ComputerWorld several unnamed customers as well. Microsoft will be announcing more details on Townsquare tomorrow at the Enterprise 2.0 conference.
Townsquare seems to be set out in a very similar fashion to Facebook, see the image below from ComputerWorld, which given their investment in Facebook is not surprising.
So while the current Microsoft offerings around Sharepoint might be lacking it seems they are busy preparing to remedy the situation.