This is Not Your Father’s Cisco

Cisco continues its redefinition today, with news the networking company is buying WebEx Communications, the online conferencing service. You can argue, I suppose, that WebEx sucks up bits, and Cisco sells bit-shunting equipment, so they’re complementary, but pretty much everything online sucks up bits, so by that measure we should expect CiscoTube and a search engine next. And while that’s possible, I doubt it will happen.

Cisco has done some unusual acquisitions lately, with this one, plus its earlier this year year buy of Five Across, a social network construction tool. Where does it think it’s going? It’s really not clearn, other than that the company didn’t think it was exposed enough to consumers and to technology markets growing faster than its core networking business, so now it has some call options, not to mention a grounded way of forcing itself to stay on top of trends it might otherwise have ignored.

Beyond that … let’s just say that while this is not your father’s Cisco, it’s not clear just whose Cisco it is becoming either.


  1. It’s interesting to me that Cisco did this in spite of the fact that they have the Meeting Place solution which mimics WebEx…I’m sure that there will be some internal spin that they meet two different markets (MeetingPlace is premise while WebEx is hosted) but it really is product overlap.

  2. Noel Kuriakos says:

    I remember in October 2005 a senior Cisco manager stating that Cisco’s senior management was intent on content driving a major part of their business in the next 5 years.
    With the spate of recent acquisitions I see what they mean.
    Isn’t it the classic strategy of hardware vendors moving to software to drive business. Reminds of EMC’s strategy.