Trends Report

Tech Horizons: What The Startup Xobni Teaches Tech Vendors About Innovation

The Company Scores A Win With A Simple Improvement To Microsoft Outlook

July 16th, 2008
With contributors:
Jean-Pierre Garbani , Janine Liu

Summary

The San Francisco-based startup company Xobni offers personal computer users a free plug-in to Microsoft Outlook that adds improved functionality and social networking capabilities to the popular email program. The company is notable for the simplicity and strength of its value proposition, as well as what it shows about the state of technology market innovation. While Forrester talks with many companies struggling to create "the next big thing," Xobni delivers on three important components of innovation in that it: 1) provides a significant improvement over an existing technology; 2) is easy to implement and user-friendly; and 3) improves a technology that is both universal and critical to business operations. But to appreciate the significance of this startup, technology strategists should also explore the symbiotic relationship Xobni has created with Microsoft. The relationship highlights how large technology vendors can work with the startup community to create innovation and improve the experience of end users.

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