Cisco and Microsoft Can’t Communicate

  • Tweet  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Facebook  
  • Google plus  
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to  

Cisco is once again trying to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype, hoping to blunt the software giant’s ambitions in unified communications. Cisco doesn't want to unravel the deal, but rather force technology changes that will strain relations with Microsoft in this burgeoning market segment.

No love is lost between Cisco Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in the race to dominate the unified communications market. For the last several years, the two have been locked in a bitter battle over technologies, products and market share in this emerging segment. Once again, Cisco is looking to blunt its rival’s advances by challenging Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype.

Cisco yesterday asked the powerful European Commission to again review Microsoft’s $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype, claiming the regulatory court erred when it approved the deal following the 2011 acquisition.

Related articles

Observers say Cisco isn’t really interested in overturning the acquisition, but rather in having European regulators force Microsoft to open its protocols and provide better integration with Cisco’s Telepresence and video-conferencing products.

Cisco claims its Telepresence products -- technology that emulates real-world meetings through expensive HD video and audio equipment -- is a strong revenue-generator, and its collaboration unit is a billion-dollar business. However, last year, Cisco saw a steep drop in video-conferencing sales as competitors fielded “good enough” alternatives.

Worse for Cisco (which pegged telepresence as the technology to replace revenue for its declining commoditized products): All video-conference players -- including those from Avaya Inc., Polycom Inc., LifeSize -- have seen growth blunted by free alternatives and consumer products, such as Skype.

Over the last two years, Cisco has struggled with other communications products, discontinuing the Cius communications tablet and the Umi video conferencing system.

Cisco's fear centers on the integration of Skype and Microsoft's desktop communications and collaboration system Lync -- that it will further erode Telepresence and WebEx collaboration sales if easier integration isn’t made available. The European challenge, some say, is designed to compel Microsoft to change its technology.

The irony: Cisco is seeking to impose changes on Microsoft for which it's often criticized. While Cisco is praised for the quality of its video-conferencing technology, it's beaten for its closed standards that make integration with third-party products more difficult.

Listening inside Cisco, there’s a bitterness toward Microsoft, which was once a chief collaborator and ally in go-to-market strategies and channels. Even as the two battle over communications technologies, Cisco and Microsoft collaborate on virtualized data centers, cloud computing technologies and wide-area network enablement. Cisco lists Microsoft among its top strategic partners.

The European Commission challenge is a side show in this ongoing feud. The real fireworks will come next month when Microsoft reveals integration between Skype and Lync for audio and text messaging. Later this year, Skype and Lync video should be integrated. As these capabilities come to fore, Microsoft and Cisco will pressure partners and the market to choose which platform they will standardize.

  • Tweet  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Facebook  
  • Google plus  
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to  
More on Channel Business
data-quality

Value over volume, RackWare says of expanded channel partner program

Aim is to have the right coverage with close relationships, VP says

divorce-pa

The velvet divorce? Options and disruptions to come from HP split

News that Hewlett-Packard is breaking into two companies continues to reverberate through the channel. While the ultimate impact on HP partners and customers remains unclear, the new entities will have plenty of options for plying their futures

treasure-chest-with-gold-coins

Channel strikes gold selling to non-techies

Tech sales staff busy selling to business units as much as tech staff, according to Gartner

jessica-m-225x300

Welcome to the new Channelnomics

Channelnomics goes live with new-look site. Join us on Twitter to give us your thoughts - @channelnomics

Visitor comments
Add comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
In-depth
Broken heart

An amicable split?

Where will HP and Symantec's conclusion that the sum of their parts is greater than the whole leave partners?

elvis67878787

Suspicious minds in the post-Snowden world

Investment in new technologies being avoided with security experts wary of cloud and new technologies post-Snowden

Old-fashioned cash register

Vendors need to get with the times, Channel conference hears

MSPs need up-to-date support from vendors, including working together

seo-checklist

‘Internet of Things’ shifting IT spending priorities

Analyst firm Gartner says enterprises spent more than $40 billion on what could be called Internet of Things (IoT) programs. As more IP-enabled devices get connected, enterprises may shift spending patterns and disrupt the way IT is acquired and supported