Blackboard Collaborate: an LMS gone astray

Normally Blackboard Collaborate wouldn’t have made it into our ranking. The vendor fails to deliver one element we see as crucial: making pricing information openly and easily accessible. Even searching the Blackboard website for quite some time left us none the wiser in that regard. Now there are two reasons we decided to test and rank Blackboard Collaborate after all:
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NetMeeting reaches end of life

Many companies currently still use NetMeeting. However, the tool’s shortcomings make it very inconvenient for continued usage which is why those companies are now on the lookout for an alternative web conferencing solution.

Incompatibility with Microsoft Office 2010 is only the last of issues that have made usage of NetMeeting quite tedious. If an online collaboration tool does not allow you to demonstrate a simple PowerPoint presentation there is something seriously wrong.
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BeamYourScreen leaps to number three

Cisco, RHUB and Microsoft – the web conferencing vendors ranked numbers three through five – will have to each step down a rank. BeamYourScreen, formerly ranked number seven, is now available for download in version 4 and brings many enhancements. Just as with the release of version 3 last year, when the tool climbed from rank 18 to 6, the developers once again have done a great job in actually improving the software.
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Microsoft buys Skype – but what about Skype’s partnership with Citrix?

By now the commotion around Microsoft’s purchase of Skype has settled a bit and we can ask our standard question: What does this mean for the web conferencing market?

The overall perception of the acquisition is mixed. Some say that it was a brilliant move by Microsoft and it will give Microsoft a huge share of the online collaboration market. Others simply wonder why you would spend so much money for a service that overlaps to large extents with what you are already offering, e.g. with Windows Live Messenger.

We are wondering about a completely different aspect of this deal, which is very intriguing: A little while back it was announced that Skype would be teaming up with Citrix to integrate Citrix’ web conferencing technology into Skype. Now Citrix GoToMeeting is a direct rival of Microsoft’s own online Meeting solution, Microsoft Office Live Meeting.

Currently it is hard to say whether this is a recipe for disaster or for an outstanding web conferencing solution. Either way, we will keep you posted.