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Microsoft to Acquire PlaceWare

Microsoft has agreed to buy Web conferencing services provider PlaceWare Inc. and plans to add the company's assets to a new Real-Time Collaboration Group inside Microsoft's Information Worker business.

Microsoft did not disclose how much it is paying for the privately held PlaceWare. The deal is expected to close this quarter. PlaceWare officials have previously said that the company's 2002 revenues were expected to reach about $50 million. The company ranked fourth on the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal's 2002 list of fastest-growing private companies in Silicon Valley.

PlaceWare provides services for Web meetings using browsers and telephones. The company also offers audio Webcasts, white boarding, shared spreadsheet presentations and chats.

Microsoft was familiar with PlaceWare from some collaboration the two companies were doing on Windows Messenger.

Microsoft's Real-Time Collaboration Group would presumably group PlaceWare with related technologies such as Windows Messenger, NetMeeting and the "Greenwich" RTC server that is supposed to ship sometime after Windows Server 2003.

Leading that group will be Anoop Gupta, a Microsoft Research veteran who has been serving recently as technical advisor to Bill Gates.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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