When WebEx announced its intention to buy Intranets.com, the reason was clear: The company that arguably brought Web-based meetings mainstream wanted to reach the small business market. The sale of Intranets.com was finalized last month and today the results of that small business focus are beginning to emerge. The most obvious one is that Intranets.com is now WebExOne.
The first products from the new brand were also announced today: MeetMeNow, PCNow and WebEx WebOffice. "The ink on the acquisition is barely dry," said Karen Leavitt, vice president of marketing, for WebExOne. "This underscores our commitment [to the small business market].
"Small businesses can't be homogenized. It's not just slashing features and prices," Leavitt said. "Small businesses aren't baby big businesses, they're not all enterprise wannabees."
Apparently, not every professionl wants to own a small business either, as WebExOne's new products also target individuals.
Intranet.com customers will see a new look when they log onto the Web-based collaboration suite. While the features are largely the same, the first changes to the WebOffice era come in the Calendar application. Customers can now go outside the confines of their Intranet and use either their contact list or their e-mail address book to schedule meetings. Leavitt said the calendaring application is now more of an Exchange alternative.
WebEx WebOffice is available in two versions, one for small businesses and one for individuals. WebEx WebOffice Workgroup is designed for small businesses with five or more people. Online applications include a document manager, group calendar, database manager, task manager and other tools. WebOffice Workgroup pricing starts at $59.95 for five people. You can add Web meetings for an additional $49.95 per month, per host (with a minimum of five hosts). The Personal edition is $49.95 a month, which includes Web meetings.
WebExOne also announced two new standalone products: MeetMeNow and PCNow.
MeetMeNow is a Web-based meeting service designed for the individual professional. Priced at $49 per month, MeetMeNow is designed to set up and run in minutes, requires no training and integrates with several desktop applications and instant messaging (IM) clients. "Our saying is 'Be live in five,'" said Karen Leavitt, vice president of marketing, for WebExOne. "But it's really more like instantly provisioned."
MeetMeNow lets customers conduct unlimited instant meetings with up to 10 attendees. You can share you entire desktop in real-time, complete with rich annotation; launch meetings directly from the Windows system tray, Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo!, MSN Messenger or AIM; invite attendees to join a conference call; pass control of documents or applications to any attendee in real-time.
PCNow, which was previously offered in a prerelease version called MyWebExPC, is a remote-access product that competes with products such as GoToMyPC.
PCNow lets customers securely access a computer from any remote location using a Web browser. You can view and access e-mail, files, folders and network resources; transfer files to and from a remote computer; print a document to either a local or remote computer. It is currently available at an introductory price of $9.95 per month (which will probably last into late November, Leavitt said). The standard price is $14.95 per month.
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