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Cisco's Head in the Cloud
According to the writer, Katie Fehrenbacher:
As Cisco has been building up its technology in the convergence of the desktop and mobile, the investment could offer the networking giant a small but interesting partnership. In the release, recently appointed SoonR CEO Patrick McVeigh notes that both companies are focusing on making business documents "accessible and actionable from the 'cloud', or the layer of network intelligence, through a myriad of Internet-connected devices."
This jibes with a something that Sheila McGee-Smith wrote here a couple of days ago. Cisco seems to be trying to assemble the piece-parts of a cloud-based response to Microsoft and IBM's desktop-based assault on the communications market.
It's interesting that when Cisco puts together Voice, Collaboration, IOS and Policy Management, what it adds up to in Cisco terms is Software. Now, obviously, a healthy dose of marketing is influencing the nomenclature, but it's also the only way for Cisco to go, really: Build the systems that support Software as a Service, or Cloud Computing, or whatever you want to call it. For this to work for Cisco, those systems have to be more than just plumbing, aka routers.
Can Cisco pull it off? I don't think their fate is entirely in their hands; a lot will depend on the cost of bandwidth to get to those network-based services; how Microsoft responds to the SaaS trends; and ultimately what end users and enterprise managers feel comfortable with. But Cisco probably has to put these building blocks in place to even have a shot.
On a separate note, speaking of GigaOm, the site's founder, Om Malik, writes here that he's recovering from a heart attack. I don't know Om personally, but I have tremendous respect for the work he's done, so I join in wishing him a speedy and complete recovery.