I attended the Blackboard / WebCT town meeting today at Educause2005. The meeting was led by Michael Chasen (CEO, Blackboard) and Carol Vallone (CEO, WebCT) Carol Vallone led off by going through some FAQS:
Q. When will the merger agreement close?
A. We have signed a definitive agreement. We expect that it will be completed later this year or early next year.)
Q. How will you handle cultural differences?
A. WebCT is known for quality of support and services. Blackboard for technology investment. We expect to get the best of both with the merger.
Q. What will be the product road map?
A. We can comment on product road maps right now but will be an priority as soon as the merger is completed. Our most important priority will be to develop a common set of APIs to Building Blocks and PowerLinks. In the interim we will continue the "natural evolution" of each product line. And at some point in the future we will have one product, combining the archictectural advantages of Webct and feature/ease of use of BlackBoard.
Q. What will be the composition of the Executive Team?
A. Blackboard team will remain. On the WebCT side, Peter Siegel will be involved with education strategy, major accounts; Barbara Ross will work on integration strategies. Chris Vento, will become the CTO of the combined companies. Karen Gage will have senior marketing role. Giordano will have transition role of integrating the financial systems of the two organizations. Vollone will have a consulting role for one year.