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Another Videoconferencing Acquisition Announcement

Hot on the heels of the Cisco/Tandberg announcement, Logitech International has agreed to buy LifeSize Communications, a start-up that makes high-definition videoconferencing equipment, for $405 million in cash. LifeSize sells videoconferencing tools that cost less than most other products on the market. For example, the LifeSize Passport, a high-definition videoconferencing system for use with televisions or computers, was introduced last month. The device, which weighs less than a pound and is priced under $2,500, works with Skype and is aimed at workers who travel or telecommute.Logitech is best known as a provider of small products that work behind PCs, such as a mouse, keyboard, or webcam. Its decision to move into a business systems market, and compete with the likes of Cisco and HP, is somewhat surprising, but not without logic. Videoconferencing is becoming a hot communications and collaboration application that will cut across consumer and business use, because many users will be teleworkers at home.

Cisco yesterday extended by nine days the deadline whether or not to withdraw its offer for Tandberg after the tender closes on Nov. 18. There have been news reports Cisco may back off from the deal rather than meet demands for a higher bid price from some Tandberg stockholders. The emphasis on videoconferencing at this week's Collaboration Launch in San Francisco is a strong indication that Cisco wants to add Tandberg and its offerings to its growing product portfolio, though not at any price. I personally believe the two companies will work out an agreement and proceed.