The prevailing wisdom when it comes to collaboration is that because most of the documents are created in Microsoft applications, the most logical approach to share that information is through a Microsoft SharePoint server.
But there's another school of thought that argues that collaboration applications are increasingly becoming the new front end for transaction processing applications, especially on the Web. And given that most transaction applications are written in Java, it makes sense to deploy collaboration applications that are written in Java to minimize the need to support two disparate application frameworks.
That's the thinking behind a set of collaboration applications written in Java that are delivered in the cloud by eXo, a French company that just recently moved its headquarters to San Francisco.
According to eXo founder and CEO Benjamin Mestrallet, eXo, which just raised $6 million in funding, signed a marketing partnership with Red Hat, and appointed industry veteran Bob Bickel as chairman, companies want to extend their business processes out to the Web. The easiest way to do that is via a cloud computing service that allows them to create collaboration applications and various Web mashups on a platform that can be easily integrated with their transaction processing applications.
eXo may not displace Microsoft SharePoint as much as it may transfer many of the concepts that Microsoft pioneered with SharePoint into the context of transactions on the Web. Whether eXo takes off is an open question, but the concept of tightly coupling collaboration applications on the Web with back-end transaction applications is long overdue.