SpikeSource, the open-source services company, has launched itself in Europe, offering customers a range of software applications.

At the same time, the company has announced a partnership with enterprise content management system firm, Alfresco, and a deal with NEC.

The company has announced that British-based company Interactive Ideas has become a 'master distributor' while it has also signed partnership deals with one ISV, Open Xchange and seven solutions providers; including the British-based LinuxIT.

According to SpikeSource CEO, Kim Polese, companies are looking for someone to eliminate the risk of using open source. She said that companies wanted to remove any pain from using open source software, while retaining the benefits. "Companies don’t want to be scanning bulletin boards to fix problems,"she said.

The company works on a subscription-basis and works closely with partners. Polese said that the lower cost of the open-source software meant that the partners were able to tailor the products to their customers’ needs and still offer a cheaper product than the competitors, typically companies such as SAP. Joaquin Ruiz, SpikeSource’s VP of marketing and product management said that proprietary products could be 20 times more expensive.

Polese conceded that the differential wasn't so high when the life of the product was taken into account. "It's true that proprietary products have high start-up costs while our users have to pay a yearly fee, but we still work out cheaper".

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The tie-in with Alfresco means that the company will offer two types of content management system, a web-based one called Drupal (that competes with the likes of Vignette) and the Alfresco ECM suite, that competes with companies such as Documentum.

Other products offered by SpikeSource include a customer relationship management product, Centric CRM SpikeCertified, a business intelligence product, JasperServer Professional SpikeCertified, and an email/calendaring product, Open-Xchange SpikeCertified.

SpikeSource also becomes a global open source solution provider for NEC, enabling the Japanese company to bundle SpikeSource software on its Express Server products. NEC will also invest in SpikeSource.

Polese said that one key component of SpikeSource was its editorial board comprising such open-source luminaries as Tim O’Reilly and MySQL CEO, Marten Mikos. Polese said the board wasn't just a marketing gimmick but was a body that met regularly to provide advice.