Buyer, I Hardly Know Her

When this bit of news crossed my transom — Cisco buying WebEx — my jaw dropped… and I wasn’t sure why.


In recent weeks, Cisco has acquired NeoPath, Five Across — and therefore,, an also-ran social networking service with untold promise — and Reactivity. Each deal is important, sure, but the aggregate, the whole is even moreseo.

My jaw had dropped, so I was at a bit of a loss. To make sense, I messaged my Twitter network — a Dodgeball-like groupmind accessible via Web, IM, and SMS — the following missive:

Why do I think this is important?

Within 15 minutes, I got the following reply:

Cisco is really making some smart picks. Cisco has the network and devices and picking up content and context tools

Of coursel

Cisco, a company previously based on pipes, in a loose sense, is now concentrating on what flows through those pipes. It’s a Microsoft play. It’s a Google play. It’s also more elegant than that.

How so? Let me give my initial thoughts:

It’s brands buying brands. Cisco, WebEx, and Tribe are relatively well-known names within their spaces. The brands are mature, the companies well-established. This is big buying relatively big.

It’s host buying audience. This isn’t a company buying an unrelated company. It’s a known and trusted company buying a known and trusted company. Despite its flaws, WebEx has an established base that Cisco can most likely increase and improve. Scale plus — or times — scale will lead to some wonderful things. Likewise, Tribe, as an almost Friendster, can only grow because of the partnership.

It’s rapidly done. This is the bump, set, spike, and then some that we hope for as growth seekers. We don’t know what will develop, but the potential additive — quickly multiplicative — nature of these deals could bear better fruit.

Am I right? Wrong? Discuss.