Friday, October 02, 2009

Cisco Buys Tandberg for $3 Billion -- Video Conferencing Front & Center

Cisco's full-scale assault on "owning" the video conferencing space took a dramatic turn yesterday with its announcement of buying video conferencing giant Tandberg for $3 billion cash. Cisco -- in a space near and dear to me (via my former company SightSpeed) -- sees video conferencing (including its high end "telepresence" initiative) as a significant growth vehicle. And Tandberg can play a critical strategic role in that drive for greatness, by bringing video conferencing to the desktop and, hence, to small businesses who cannot come close to affording Cisco's current high end services.

This is a bold move -- it represents the power and promise of video conferencing. And it also represents a direct shot across the bow to several other video conferencing titans, including (1) HP (its Halo initiative), (2) Polycom (Tandberg's arch enemy in the collaboration space), and (3) Logitech -- the company that acquired SightSpeed last year. SightSpeed was known as offering the best in class desktop video conferencing application, and SightSpeed's promise always included the small-to-medium business (SMB) owner (and not only SightSpeed's consumer service which is now known as Logitech's "Vid").

Believe me, these companies will not sit back idly to watch their market share shrink. "Things" will happen ...