Startup with Intel ties to launch Office Live competitor

A Internet startup with close ties to, and an existing partnership with, Intel, is planning to release as soon as next month a new online small business suite to directly compete with Microsoft Office Live and Google Apps, BetaNews has learned.

Yesterday, TransMedia's Glide Digital unit released Glide Crunch, a full-featured spreadsheet application that, while said to be cross-platform, targets Linux users. Following up on that development, BetaNews has learned that the company is looking at December availability for new enterprise and small business editions of its crossplatform office suite for Windows, Mac, Linux, and mobile platforms, a product that's viewed as a competitor to both Microsoft Office and Google Apps.

Beyond simultaneous release this week of the Windows, Mac, and Linux versions of the Glide Crunch Spreadsheet, TransMedia is now readying enterprise and small business editions of its full online office suite, first conceived of seven years ago as a cross-platorm alternative to Microsoft Office, BetaNews has learned.

David Schwartz, TransMedia's senior VP of business development, told BetaNews today that the two upcoming but unannounced business editions -- which will add project management and a central archive to existing Glide apps such as a word processor and presentation package -- are now eyed for release on December 5.

TransMedia provides the hosting services for the current edition of the Glide suite, which is tailored to individual end users. Schwartz said that TransMedia will likewise host the small business editions.

Enterprises, however, will be offered a choice of either self-hosting the software or using TransMedia's hosting services, according to the senior VP. Also in the enterprise edition, TransMedia plans to provide extensive integration with Glide's back end.

Also in the works at TransMedia, he said, is a new e-mail client that will "aggregate Web mail with Glide mail," while providing extensive permission rights over previewing, downloading, uploading, and modifying mail.

Most Glide apps, with the exception of the newly released Crunch Spreadsheet, are fully accessible not just from Windows, Mac and Linux desktops, but from a wide assortment of mobile platforms, Schwartz noted. The same will be true of the two business platforms, he elaborated.

"We have worked in the past with Intel on producing software for its Ultra Mobile platform, and we'll be working with other areas of Intel in the future," according to the TransMedia executive. Intel first introduced TransMedia to the public at the DigitalLife conference in New York in October 2006, as one of those Internet startups whose initial steps in the market it's helped guide.

Although complete Crunch functionality is not yet ready for PDAs, users can already preview Crunch spreadsheets as .PDF files on mobile devices, said Schwartz.

TransMedia launched the Windows, Mac and Linux editions of Crunch on Glide's Web site yesterday, Initially, the company planned to make the Windows version available for download last week, and the other two versions available this week, he said. But when developers experienced some minor delays in getting the Windows product out the door, the vendor decided to roll out all three versions at once.

These days, Glide is competing with Google Apps on some levels, as well as with Microsoft Office, the senior VP acknowledged.

In addition to enterprises and small businesses, TransMedia sees education as another emerging target market for Glide, according to Schwartz.

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