IBM has opened access to Bluehouse, a "Facebook for business" service based on IBM's Lotus Foundations.
Bluehouse offers regular social networking tools, tailored to corporate use, including web conferencing, instant messaging, document sharing, directory, profiles, all delivered via the web.
Sean Poulley, vice president of IBM's online collaboration services told Computerworld that "Bluehouse will allow people to quickly create a collaborative space, but unlike Facebook it has management features to ensure privacy and other controls that businesses want."
The significance in a broader sense is IBM's focus on Bluehouse as a "cloud utility." IDC Analyst Frank Gens said that "Our view is that being able to provide software offerings through a cloud services model is the foundation for new growth for the industry...Bluehouse is Lotus moving much, if not most of what they do in a traditional software model, and putting it right out there in the cloud."
Bluehouse will be offered for free during a testing period, with a subscription model to be implemented at a future date.
(thx to Mona for the tip)