In November, collaboration specialist eXpresso (news, site) announced that it was no longer offering its services directly, but instead that it was teaming up with IBM (news, site)  and others. There was speculation that it might be some time before anything was heard from them, but here we are only three months later and it has announced that its document collaboration software is now available on LotusLive.

True to the company's word, users of LotusLive will be able to use the software to work with documents and collaborate with users anywhere and at anytime from within the LotusLive platform.

eXpresso and LotusLive

It’s not really surprising that this should be its first outing since hooking up with IBM. LotusLive and Symphony, in particular, are at the heart of IBM’s challenge in the Web office productivity market, and with competition now at fever pitch, anything that might give it an edge will be pushed out the door as quickly as possible.

eXpresso software enables multiple users to create, edit and share documents simultaneously without compromising the native feature-functionality of whatever editor they happen to be using. 

For users, from a functionality level, the advantages are quite clear, not least of which is the ability to work from within LotusLive. But pricewise, the advantages are even clearer. After a trial period offered as part of LotusLive trials, users can sign up for the not-so-princely sum of US$ 1 per user per month.

How this will compete with Microsoft’s Web Office suite, especially after Office365 is launched later this year, or with Google Docs, for example, remains to be seen, but it is still cheap enough to be well worth a look.

eXpresso and IBM

So what happened with eXpresso and why did it sign up with IBM? In November, we talked to them about it all, and here’s what they had to say:

The company will remain as an entity, but our distribution model will be only through partners. The eXpresso application as it is known today will no longer exist. Unfortunately market conditions made remaining a standalone product impossible. We are hopeful that by partnering with large vendors, such as IBM, we will be able to bring real-time file collaboration to many more people. There will most likely be some gap in time between when our standalone application shuts down on 12/31/10 and when our partner applications are available, but hopefully it won’t be too long.”

And, sure enough, it hasn’t been too long, but how it will fare with larger vendors that are looking to establish themselves in their own right in the cheap document collaboration space remains to be seen.