Cisco Acquires Tandberg; Switches from IBM Platform to WebEx

Last week, Cisco made two very different changes regarding web conferencing.

First, they announced they will be buying Norwegian video conferencing outfit Tandberg for $3 billion. The company’s 1,500 employees will become part of Cisco, and the deal is expected to close in 2010 and improve earnings the following year. The goal behind the Tandberg acquisition is to expand Cisco’s collaboration platform—Tandberg’s products will be integrated into Cisco’s TelePresence portfolio, and Tandberg’s CEO, Fredrik Halvorsen, will head the group. Tandberg’s repertory includes everything from multiscreen telepresence products to multipoint control units, and their endpoints will give Cisco a good selling base.

Cisco’s other conferencing news is internal, as they will be switching from IBM’s Lotus Sametime (communication, instant messaging, and collaboration software) to WebEx Connect. Cisco acquired WebEx connect in 2007, and the web conferencing platform has IM functionality thanks to another company, Jabber, which Cisco acquired a year later. The switch was explained as a preference for WebEx’s “more productive real-time collaboration with increased functionality and stability,” as well as WebEx’s ability to integrate with other IM services.

It isn’t necessarily surprising that Cisco chose their own homegrown product, but it is always interesting to see which systems they choose for themselves given their many acquisitions.

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