A company led by a former Microsoft foe might be doing more to push Windows XP technologies than any of Microsoft's other partners. Groove Networks, with Lotus Notes creator Ray Ozzie at the helm, says that it will soon release a new version of its Groove software that piggybacks on XP's Windows Messenger and gives people the opportunity to collaborate in groups over a secure Internet connection. Groove previously created a version of its software that included instant-messaging features, but by building on the extensible base of Windows Messenger, the company feels that it can add value by leveraging the unique aspects of its software.

"You start to get to know how to contact people, whether it's by email or by messenger," Ozzie said. "Because of this integration, you don't have to learn anything new to start collaborating with one another."

In addition to its Windows Messenger tie-in, the latest Groove update includes specific Microsoft Word enhancements that let groups of workers view, edit, and discuss Word documents in realtime. The company also announced that it signed a 10,000-seat sale with Dell, the second such deal this year.