Quick Thought: VMware’s first “Microsoft” move with SocialCast

VMware announced overnight that their aquired Private Social Media Platform SocialCast is to have full features enabled for 50 users.

http://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/vmw-socialcast-free-06-06-12.html

I have been using SocialCast for about 6 months privately and I’ve been involved in a couple VMware run Private Beta programs using SocialCast as the social platform…it’s excellent, intuitive and easy to use.

I have seen the potential in the product and I have been excited at the prospect of potentially productising it for the SMB market here in Australia. Now, just as a sidenote, the SMB market in Australia is considered to be between 20-50 seats. Public social networks are fine for those companies not concerned with  intellectual and sensitive information being leaked and made available outside the corporate network/environment…so being able to offer a secure, private alternative with all the cool bits of a public platform would be very attractive…and if I can sell that at x amount of $ per user per month, I’m happy!

To quote the press release:

This is the first enterprise social network to offer a free option for small businesses and departments that includes an award-winning user experience backed by enterprise-level security, compliance capabilities, administration tools, mobile access, and the ability to integrate with existing applications. With full access to features, organizations can completely implement an enterprise social network and experience how social connects people, information and applications to drive business results.

Limited products don’t deliver on the potential of enterprise social,” said Tim Young, vice president of Social, VMware. ”We don’t want people to have anything but the best experience with their communities. Now we’re able to offer companies of all sizes enterprise social networks that employees will love to use, and with the confidence their data is secure.”

That’s awesome and I do applaud VMware for making this platform more accessible at the lower end of town…but the question I would ask is If this is the first step in VMware becoming more like Microsoft/Google offering their own public cloud services and undercutting their partners?

Just imagine if VMware was to start offering publicly available feature rich versions of vCloud, Zimbra…or the more obviously product…Project Octopus?

…I’m a little concerned!