Cisco’s Move Against Skype-Microsoft Shows Consumerization’s Impact

February 28, 2012

Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) is challenging the European Union’s approval of the merger of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and privately held Skype, arguing that allowing the merger to go forward as-is threatens to build a “walled garden” around Skype, enabling only Skype users to connect to Microsoft’s other voice-video platform customers. Cisco is asking the EU to require Microsoft to build open-standards-based interfaces enabling Skype users to connect to any other standards-based system.

Cisco’s move reflects the growing importance of both supporting and integrating with consumer services such as Skype. Almost 36% of companies rate the ability to integrate with Skype important, very important, or critical to their UC plans. IT architects want to enable employees to use services such as Skype to reduce long-distance and roaming costs, to leverage consumer services for conferencing with partners and suppliers, and want their users to be able to connect to customers using Skype.

Impacts:

Enterprises: Keep an eye on Cisco’s efforts if you wish to federate with Skype. In the meantime evaluate solutions from companies such as privately held Blue Jeans Networks, Vidtel, and LifeSize (NASDAQ:LOGI) to federate with Skype users.

Vendors: Support open standards, but be prepared to develop gateways to federate with non-standards-based public services.

Investors: If Cisco succeeds it’s good news for other video conferencing vendors including Radvision (NASDAQ:RVSN), Polycom (NASDAQ:PLCM), and privately held Vidyo.