Everyone Against Cisco

The battle lines remain drawn: It's the network folks against the desktop folks and, to some extent, Cisco against all comers. The stage on which the UC drama is playing out is changing quickly, however, with advanced video platforms, mobile devices and a never-ending stream of new applications.

By Carl Weinschenk | Posted Jun 29, 2010
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It's interesting to read this Channel Insider commentary by Chris Talbot in light of a piece of news that emerged the week after it was written.

Talbot delineated the battlegrounds in the unified communications sector. Though he doesn't say it outright, the point is that Cisco is playing the role that Microsoft occupied a decade ago. Whereas the desktop and PC world became an “anyone but Microsoft” affair, the UC environment today has all the players – even the powerful ones – queuing up against Cisco.

Talbot writes of the...

...“anyone but Cisco” camp, which has gained strength with the dissolving of ties between Cisco and HP. HP's product portfolio is not the strongest when it comes to unified communications, but it has aligned itself with Microsoft to provide businesses with their unified communications needs.

Talbot makes several good points, either himself or through analysts' quotes: Vendors recognize the value of UC, the sector will be filled with acquisitions and partnerships, the lines of engagement are between companies with a networking legacy (i.e., Cisco) and those with desktop strength (i.e., Microsoft) and video and applications will be big battlegrounds going forward.

This can be juxtaposed against the less than earth-shattering news that Avaya is contributing parts of its UC and contact center products to HP's Unified Communications and Collaboration services portfolio as part of the companies' three-year partnership. HP will sell and deliver the products, the press release says.

The unified communications landscape will continue to change quickly due to its immaturity and the fast-paced emergence of new technologies and platforms. Another wild card is whether efforts by the newly formed Unified Communications Interoperability Forum will succeed, or if they will be derailed by vendors who think they are strong enough to prosper in a fragmented market.

The bottom line is that Talbot's column is accurate today, but the pendulum will swing – in one direction or another – quickly.

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