Microsoft Corp has noted the growing hype over the emerging breed of knowledge management tools, and is starting to talk about its own plans for KM applications, due to be released next year as part of the BackOffice series. Smart Reseller hears that Microsoft revealed its plans at its MTB Microsoft Technical Briefing for consultants, project managers and resellers in Seattle last month. Two new applications to be developed for the forthcoming Windows 2000 operating system were mentioned, with the code names Tahoe and Polar Server. Tahoe is expected to be a development of the current Site Server 3.0 product, and will include document management and search capabilities, the paper said. Tahoe is likely to be used as part of Microsoft’s plans for the MSN.Com portal technology, but it’s also likely to take Site Server in a different direction from Site Server Commerce Edition. Polar Server is expected to include a subset of core technologies from SQL Serve, Exchange Server and Tahoe, according to the report, but will focus on the document tracking, collaboration and workflow elements of document management. (Workflow services have an additional code name – Grizzly). Market research firm Ovum Ltd has predicted that the value of the worldwide market for KM software will reach $1.6bn by 2002, up from $285m in 1998 (CI No 3,508). Ovum says the market is being driven by the widespread recognition of the importance of emails and documents as repositories of information is driving much of the innovation in the emerging market for KM software. Vendors of products for managing unstructured information, groupware, information retrieval and document management vendors, will dominate over the next few years. But other suppliers including database, datawarehousing and ERP vendors, will inevitably jump on the bandwagon, Ovum believes. Lotus Development Corp began talking up its knowledge management strategy last year, and is starting to reposition its Notes, Domino and IBM Corp DB2 database products as knowledge management tools. Documentum Inc plans to launch a new range of knowledge management applications next month or early in April, while newcomer Verge Software demonstrated its project-based knowledge management tool at this week’s Demo 99 conference. Earlier this week the SAS Institute partnered with knowledge management firm Intraspect Software Inc (CI No 3,593). SAS mentioned both Lotus and Microsoft as potential future partners, but said that their products were not yet ready. As ever, Microsoft is likely to upset some of the companies that are currently its partners as it moves into document and knowledge management systems.