A vignette about Vignette's reinvention

The Texas software company was a big player in the dot-com boom. Now it's back with software for a new Web audience.

NEW YORK--There was a time when many thought Vignette, a maker of expensive content management software, could have been one of the next great software companies.

In June 2000, the Austin, Texas company had a stock market capitalization topping $9 billion (and this was a few months after the market peaked), was the subject of a lengthy BusinessWeek feature, and had more than 1,300 employees. Then, of course, the bottom came out of the dot-com business, and Vignette all but disappeared from the spotlight.

Turns out Vignette is still very much in business, and was one of many software companies pitching their products this week here at the Web 2.0 Expo in the Jacob Javits Center. It's certainly a smaller, more humble company. With a market cap a nip over $300 million and about 680 employees, it's still in the content software business, focusing on video and new media technologies.

Is this reinvention?

"I think you could put it in those terms," said Lee Shepstone, chief technology officer for media at the company.

Does that mean Vignette, a decidedly Web 1.0 company (Vignette was an early publishing tool spun out of CNET Networks as an independent company) is now calling itself a Web 2.0 company?

"Yes and no, depending on the audience," Shepstone added wryly.

At the conference, Vignette unveiled Vignette Media, a new software package tailored for media and publishing companies (sort of a back to the future for the company). It's likely to be the first of many industry-specific or vertical products from the company.

But with Wall Street reeling, don't expect a return to the $11 billion market cap glory days anytime soon.

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