Intranet portal musings

Ramblings on intranet portal strategies and technologies.

BEA + Plumtree = Unfortunate

Thursday, August 25, 2005
I've had a fair amount of experience with Plumtree's portal product over the last few years and what was arguably the most attractive feature was its cross-platform architecture. One could deploy on either the .Net platform or J2EE - I should point out that Plumtree's product was the only that could lay this claim.

BEA offers one of the best J2EE application servers available, along with its own WebLogic portal and a host of other J2EE-based products. So, on Tuesday when BEA announced that it would acquire Plumtree for some $200M in cash I was a bit disheartened. The management, as expected, announced that are no plans to discontinue either product down the road - they will coexist indefinitely. I am sure this is a distinct possibility but what I expect will happen is that one of the core drivers behind Plumtree's recent success (they do have 21 million users), the ability to speak both Microsoft and J2EE will disappear in the near term.

With the acquisition, BEA is really looking for an immediate impact on the bottom line (Plumtree has some $70M cash on hand with no long-term debt) and growth opportunities leveraging the two customer bases. That means cross-selling and any way you shake it that means driving J2EE. My belief is this means bye-bye to one of Plumtree's claims to fame...

Google IM arrives

Wednesday, August 24, 2005
If you haven't heard of it yet, you most likely will in the next few days as Google Talk has arrived on the scene. The Google flavor of Instant Messaging (IM) arrived about midnight EDT on 8/24. Funny, I was online reading about it and had visited the URL where you can download the client about 10 minutes before it was released. I got a strange looking 404 error (strange, because Google used an odd font to display their multi-color logo which gave it a retro look). Anyway, I was reading another Blog about 20 min later found off T'rati and clicked on the Google Talk link and voila!

Downloaded the client and tried it out with a fellow geek friend who was online. I do like the interface, very clean and somehow Apple-esque appearing. Like MSN Messenger, it integrates with your Gmail account and will display a pop-up over the system tray when a new message arrives. (This feature can be turned off.) It has the word Beta stamped right on it, as it should...there are a number of feature that just plain don't work (e.g. Help, Account Settings, etc.). The peer-to-peer voice works very well. The audio was always clear and it required no configuration changes on my screwed up Windows XP PC - it uses the default multimedia confgurations.

We'll have to see where this heads over the next days, weeks and months, but it certainly is an intriguing first offering. Reportedly Google will be offering a SkypeOut-type capability which will let PC users call landline or mobile users.

MSCMS and MS SharePoint Merging Architectures

Tuesday, August 02, 2005
We knew it was going to happen at some point - the convergence of Microsoft's SharePoint Portal and Content Management Server products.

There are posts on my Intranet101.com site going back to January 2005 on the topic and just a few weeks ago this article appeared on MicrosoftToday.com

SharePoint is a team collaboration/small intranet site product which facilitates online collaboration. CMS is a full-featured web content management product with workflow, versioning, web publishing, and content presentation/design templates. The marriage of these two products together will bring a robust capability to the team collaboration marketplace.