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By Clint Boulton 

HyperOffice Dec. 15 launched a private beta version of its collaboration suite, refreshing it with AJAX, Java and other Web 2.0 technologies to modernize the platform. HyperOffice offers business e-mail, calendars, document sharing, online databases, forums, polls, wikis, project portals and Web conferencing applications for small and medium-sized businesses. The messaging and collaboration company is targeting the SMB segment of the cloud computing platform market populated by Google Apps, Zoho, IBM Lotus, Cisco, Microsoft and others.

Let Google, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, Zoho and others target the bigger companies with collaboration software hosted as a service. HyperOffice is happy to make and sell applications to help mom-and-pop shops set up virtual offices without IT staffs.

The company Dec. 15 launched a private beta version of its HyperOffice Collaboration Suite, refreshing it with AJAX, Java and other Web 2.0 technologies to modernize the platform. HyperOffice targets businesses of three to 100 users with e-mail, calendar, document sharing, online database, wiki, project portal and Web conferencing applications.

The new HyperOffice takes a page out of the Yahoo Zimbra playbook, letting users drag and drop calendar events to move them to different dates and times.

Calendars are also now color-coded to help users delineate appointments in their busy schedules, and the app now lets users share all of their calendar events with one other user. However, HyperOffice’s calendar does not yet support iCal, which will be a problem for some prospective users. The company claims it will support iCal next year.

The contact and project management capabilities in the suite are also streamlined and integrated to make it easier for work teams to plan and track group projects.

In addition, new tabs enable users to open e-mail messages within the e-mail system without opening new windows, which reduces e-mail clutter. And users can finally drag and drop e-mail into folders and search HyperOffice e-mail. Users can upload multiple documents, and the new search function does full-body document search when users want to find certain documents later.

HyperOffice also offers settings and permissions to let users decide who may access groups, documents, revisions and other corporate resources.

While Google, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, Zoho and others take a holistic approach by offering low-cost, hosted collaboration suites for any business, HyperOffice is gunning for the smallest of the small end of the market, Shahab Kaviani, vice president of sales and marketing for HyperOffice, told eWEEK.

HyperOffice envisions its user base as new entrepreneurs that need to set up a virtual workplace and access it from any Web-connected computer or mobile device, including the Apple iPhone. Also among the company’s targets are small companies that need comprehensive collaboration suites that lack IT staffs and can’t be bothered by buying servers and installing and maintaining software.

Kaviani said single solution providers have been HyperOffice’s toughest competition to date. For example, DimDim offers Web conferencing. Basecamp provides project management. Mindjet only offered so-called mind mapping knowledge management tools before branching out to Web conferencing this past fall.

He and the company believe that the buzz generated by Google, Zoho, IBM, Microsoft and others have put the idea of the collaboration cloud computing platform front and center, opening the door wider for the lesser known HyperOffice.

How badly does HyperOffice want you to leave Microsoft Office Outlook, SharePoint, Exchange, IBM Lotus Notes and Domino, and other desktop and server e-mail products? Kaviani said HyperOffice is offering free support by e-mail and phone, Webinars, and free online and custom training options to help users with the transition.

There is a free, 30-day trial, after which HyperOffice costs $7 per month per user, which is more than the $50 per user, per year Google charges for its Google Apps Premier Edition. However, HyperOffice has tools Google Apps lacks, such as project management and online database apps.

See a demo video of the features here and contact the company for subscribing to the platform.

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