Oracle Buys IP From Tacit to Boost Beehive Platform

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Seeking to beef up the capabilities of its recently launched Beehive collaboration platform, Oracle said Monday it has bought the intellectual property of Tacit Software and hired all of its software engineers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tacit is the Palo Alto, California, company behind illumio, a SaaS (software as a service) collaboration and "expertise location" platform, and ActiveNet, an on-premises product with a similar purpose.

The system doesn't require users to maintain profiles; instead, a plug-in that is installed locally tracks their activity and builds a "dynamic, highly accurate profile of their expertise," according to the illumio Web site.

This approach provides additional privacy over other systems, the company said. Users do not have to add data about their expertise to a common, searchable database; instead, the plug-in matches questions or calls for help from the community with users, who decide whether they wish to answer.

Auto-profiling can also address a common challenge with enterprise social networking deployments -- the fact that many users do not maintain their profiles.

It was not immediately clear Monday how Oracle's deal would affect existing Tacit Software customers, which include Lockheed Martin and Morgan Stanley. Representatives for both companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Oracle announced Beehive at its OpenWorld conference in September with much fanfare, but into a market which has become saturated with options for enterprise-grade social networking.

Beehive combines features like conferencing, e-mail, calendaring, instant messaging and workspaces, and is available either on premises or in a SaaS version.

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