by Mike Masnick

The Rebirth Of Enterprise Focused Chat?

from the it's-baaaaaaaaaaack dept

It really does seem, these days, that all those old internet ideas that failed are suddenly coming back -- sometimes making the same mistakes they did the first time around. There definitely are some improvements, but it's not clear why people keep hyping up what has already failed as being new and innovative without explaining why it's different this time. The latest area to see this is in enterprise chat. It was only a year and a half ago, of course, that we noted that enterprise chat was dead. Yahoo and AOL had both decided to shelve highly touted, but little used, products in the space. Yet, here we are, at the beginning of 2006, hearing stories about how excited AOL is to be getting into the enterprise chat business, in a partnership with Webex. Meanwhile, we see startups trying to get into the space as well with buzz-generating products like 37 Signals' Campfire. It's true that these products do tend to offer a few different features -- but there isn't much indication how much of that is worth paying for, which is the business model being used. Everyone seems to be banking on security and collaboration as the two pegs for enterprise chat -- however, neither were that compelling in the past. The real issue, however, is that many people have figured out that existing, free, solutions are good enough to get the job done -- and have the added benefit of the network effects of people already using them. That's not to say there isn't some wonderful solution that won't come along and convince us all why we need to shell out for enterprise chat -- but so far, no one even seems to be trying to do any convincing. They just seem to think that if they say it's for businesses, then those businesses will come running.

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  • identicon
    Don Gray, 21 Feb 2006 @ 12:58pm


    We have had great success at our small company with Jabber.
    Specifically the Wildfire server...
    Can't recommend it enough. Take an old server, install Fedora Core 4, download wildfire install, configure for 30 minutes, done.
    Lovely administration interface, lots of options through an XML config file. Really, really nicely done.
    And if you want to pay for support you can get that too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ben McNelly, 21 Feb 2006 @ 1:15pm

    The Rebirth Of the dollar bill.

    Heres a question. What can we take advantage of to improove on or do better in the world of technology and internet?
    Answer1: Anything that makes money! Oh look, this still sucks, lets try to do it!

    Answer2: OK, lets take a need and fill it with an open source solution, and inovate the way people think and use this product! After we establish good will with the average consumer we can roll out some low priced solutions they will trust and gladly pay to use! - nah screw it, lets just do a 30 day trial, and then charge em the wazoo...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Aaron, 21 Feb 2006 @ 1:34pm

    enterprise chat

    Gah! we're still having issues with Enterprise IM (thanks to Microsoft) so we have an IRC server up with 700 users chatting away happily... Trying to have a group chat in MS Instant Messenger is evil.. and crashes all the time! IRC has had 4 minutes of downtime in 3 years when they had to move the server a few feet :P

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2006 @ 1:40pm

      Re: IRC

      Plus you get the added benefit of Fserve and XDCC downloads while at work.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2006 @ 2:07pm

      Re: enterprise chat

      Want to know why people are trying it again now? It wasn't that enterprise IM/chat wasn't a great idea before, it was that people weren't using their computers as much. Bosses weren't too happy when staff didn't respond to an IMs quickly, which would require them to be sitting at or near their computers. As more employees become attached to their computers, more of them find a benefit from these programs.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon Coward, 21 Feb 2006 @ 4:54pm

    No Subject Given

    My company has 4k employees on Jabber. Great part for me is that I use the Trillian Pro client and can use one app for all my IM requirements.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dennis Howlett, 21 Feb 2006 @ 9:13pm

    enterprise chart?

    Is Campfire making an assulat on the enterprise? If it is then I'd be very surprsed if it successful. Are we not tlaking about a small workgroup product here? Not the same thing at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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