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Microsoft 'OfficeTalk' Clones Twitter, Dresses in Business Gray

Microsoft Toys With Twitter Clone For Businesses
For the past year, Microsoft has been quietly testing a microblogging service for businesses, essentially developing a corporate Twitter. Taking the tweeting bird and dressing it in office park grays, OfficeTalk's resemblance to the popular microblogging service is uncanny: The experiment uses topic hashtags, has an in-built URL shortener, supports "@" mentions and limits its messages to 140 characters. In fact, the only major difference between the two products is that Twitter's advanced features, such as lists and geo-location, are missing from the Microsoft experiment. The wholesale theft recreation of Twitter is particularly troublesome after MSN China landed in hot water for ripping off a lesser social networking service called Plurk.

Microblogging is quickly becoming a powerful way for informal communication and, understandably, Microsoft wants to make sure it has a competitive product for businesses to adopt internally. Other entrants already have a head start: Google Buzz will be offered in a standalone version through Google Apps and Yammer has been offering custom private microblogging to businesses since 2008. Then, there is the true power player, Twitter, which is actively trying to attract business customers. Microsoft does have one major advantage though; the ability to easily integrate OfficeTalk with Exchange, Sharepoint, or Outlook, which could be a killer feature in a corporate environment. [From: Microsoft Office Labs, via: Gawker]

Tags: corporate, google buzz, GoogleBuzz, microblogging, Microsoft, officetalk, plurk, top, twitter, yammer