Microsoft announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire Parlano, a collaboration company that focuses on enterprise group chat applications. Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close in Q4 2007, were not disclosed. Following the closing, members of the Parlano team will join the Unified Communications Group at Microsoft's Redmond, Wash., campus.
Parlano, Italian for "they speak," developed MindAlign, a technology that supports persistent discussions, i.e. those that persist over a long period of time. The application was originally envisaged at Swiss Bank (now UBS) and led to the company's formation. I recall the announcement, in September of 2000, proclaiming a "new class" of business tools.
"In order for organizations to realize faster and better use of information, a whole new class of business collaboration solutions is required," said Tim Krauskopf, CEO of Parlano at the time. (Krauskopf was a co-founder of Spyglass, an early developer of Web browser technology.)
Parlano had a clear vision of its mission at the company's inception and, despite the vagaries of the marketplace, it managed to follow through on this vision without any detours. Indeed, the company continuously improved the group chat experience, developing products that could be integrated into a Collaborative Business Environment such as the 2007 Microsoft Office system.
In 2004, Basex recognized Parlano and MindAlign with a Basex Excellence Award, or Basey, noting that the application could "change the face of communications for organizations with a distributed workforce that crosses time zones and borders." According to customers we spoke with, it did.
In 2006, Microsoft credited MindAlign with the creation of "a new paradigm for collaborative software" in a book called "Innovation Starts Here," published by Microsoft's Emerging Business Team.
Now, going one step further, Microsoft announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire the company and its technology.
Parlano's vision ties directly into what Microsoft's Gurdeep Singh-Pall commented about the deal: "The acquisition of Parlano and the integration of its leading group chat application will advance Microsoft's vision to use the power of software to deliver the most complete unified communications experience."
Nick Fera, Parlano's current CEO who was vice president of business development back in September 2000, commented this evening in his Weblog about Singh-Pall's statement, noting that "[O]f course we share that view and are excited to see MindAlign become an enormous commercial reality and success. Microsoft is soon to inherent a team of talented and passionate professionals who really understand the value of group chat."