Bill Pray

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Bill Pray
Research Director
2 years at Gartner
16 years IT industry

Bill Pray is an analyst in the Collaboration and Content Strategies ITP team. He covers communications and collaboration solutions — e-mail, calendars, instant messaging, and web conferencing…Read Full Bio

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After Two Years, Cisco Disappoints

by Bill Pray  |  December 14, 2010  |  2 Comments

It has been a little over two years since the acquisition of PostPath and Jabber by Cisco, with not much to show. When Cisco acquired PostPath, I blogged about how it will not be easy for Cisco and that they have to answer the questions of why and how for enterprises:

Another 800 LB Gorilla Jumps In – Cisco Acquiring PostPath

A little over a year later, Cisco had started articulating its vision for e-mail. The vision is a good one, as I blogged about in:

The Evolution of the Inbox

And now, after two years, Cisco’s efforts in the e-mail and instant messaging (IM) space seem a bit stalled. Cisco recently changed the name of Cisco WebEx Mail to Cisco Mail, but it is still in “limited availability” – meaning only in North America. I interpret “limited availability” as another way of saying “beta.” Cisco hasn’t rolled out Cisco Mail internally either. There is no eating their own dog food or drinking their own champagne yet.

On the IM front, there has been more progress as the Jabber technologies have been integrated into Cisco Unified Presence, Cisco Unified Personal Communicator, and Cisco WebEx Connect IM. However, there is no market buzz around Cisco’s efforts. The integration of the Jabber technologies has been lost in the confusing noise of Cisco’s collaboration solutions message.

I believe that if Cisco does not execute on its text-based messaging products, it will struggle to be successful in the rest of its collaboration solution story. Cisco doesn’t have to be #1 in text-based messaging to be successful. Cisco just has to offer viable enterprise-grade solutions that get them on the short list and provide enterprises with alternatives and choice.

Competition is good for markets and customers. It spurs innovation and better costs. I would applaud Cisco stepping it up and competing with Google, IBM, and Microsoft in text-based communications. The markets for text-based communications are huge, with room for numerous players and plenty of green field opportunities.

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