Novell, seeking a real-time makeover for its collaboration wares, announced this week that it has acquired SiteScape, the developer of open source collaboration tools.

Last year, the two began a partnership that resulted in Novell Teaming + Conferencing, which is based on SiteScape's ICEcore collaboration tools, a web-based team workspace and real-time conferencing platform that includes Web 2.0 and social networking technologies. The Teaming + Conferencing package was released in October 2007.

Novell's current GroupWise collaboration platform had been missing much of the real-time and Web 2.0 technologies that are beginning to define the next wave of collaboration.

"The team workspace and real time conferencing that we gain by acquiring SiteScape will complement the email, calendaring and task management that is in GroupWise," says Wendy Steinle, director of marketing for Novell GroupWise.

Steinle says Novell would continue to offer Teaming + Conferencing, but now the company has more freedom to extend the technology and potentially OEM its capabilities.

Novell's focus will be on ICEcore (Integrated Collaboration Environment), which includes an open source project component. Novell says ex-SiteScape CTO Andy Fox would be tasked with advancing that project and has been named vice president of engineering at Novell.

Novell also says it will continue to support other SiteScape tools at least through 2010, including Forum ZX and ST, which provide chat, threaded discussion, blogs, wiki, workflow, and document sharing among other tools; SiteScape Zon, which is integrated into ZX and provides voice and web conferencing; and Web Work Zone, an online hosted platform based on Forum.

SiteScape's environment for workgroups is similar in design and strategy to Microsoft's SharePoint and IBM Lotus Quickr. Both those vendors are integrating those platforms with real-time communications and social networking tools.

Novell needed a way to provide similar tools in order to compete and prevent current customers from migrating away from its platform.

Ron Hovsepian, president and CEO of Novell, said that SiteScape was a key technology addition in an area where Novell sees growth potential.

Terms of the deal were not announced, but Novell confirmed that it was an all-cash transaction.