No Jitter is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Microsoft Slams Cisco over Email (Updated w/Joe Burton Response)

Microsoft's Unified Communications team has leaped on the Cisco purchase of PostPath as a reversal of a previous position about the relative importance of email. I had a chance to talk with Zig Serafin, GM for the Unified Communications Group at Microsoft, and he made many points that you'll also find in this post from Microsoft blogger [email protected]:

Microsoft's Unified Communications team has leaped on the Cisco purchase of PostPath as a reversal of a previous position about the relative importance of email. I had a chance to talk with Zig Serafin, GM for the Unified Communications Group at Microsoft, and he made many points that you'll also find in this post from Microsoft blogger [email protected]:Moz cites this blog post from last year by Cisco CTO for UC, Joe Burton, who approvingly linked to a CNET article that, as Burton wrote at the time, "talked about the irrelevance of email for these customers and employees of tomorrow." (The article focused on kids' use of email.)

"And here you are a year later, and there's a $220 million check being written," Zig Serafin said to me, calling it "quite a fascinating change in their direction." (The figure was actually reported as $215 million, but what's $5 million to either of these 2 companies?) "Our customers continue to tell us email is absolutely a critical component." [email protected] posts some stats to back up that claim.

Zig's overall point was that email has to be a component of a UC solution, and that email exchanges often are the way people prefer to kick off an exchange (so to speak) that may escalate to IM, voice, video, web conferencing, etc.

I contacted Joe Burton yesterday to get his response on all this, but haven't heard back from him; I'll update when possible. [See Update below]

I have to say that my own read of Joe's post would be a little more nuanced than what Microsoft obviously wants to push. Joe's not saying you don't need email at all, he's more suggesting that people rely less and less on PC-based email alone as their email interface; he talks a fair amount in that post about people who essentially screen their incoming email via mobile devices. The title of the post, after all, is, "Is Your PC Just a Paperweight?"

Joe makes a fair point, but I think it also kind of falls into the everybody's-like-me trap a little bit. If you're a mobile worker, you obviously have incorporated mobility into your emailing routine. But plenty of people still work at desks, with hard-drive towers as their computers, and that's pretty much where they do email. Furthermore, that blog title is pretty much the all-purpose anti-Microsoft case in a nutshell.

One last point, as long as we're cruising around the blogosphere, here's a very different take: A blogger who thinks Cisco/PostPath will be very appealing to IT shops looking to replace Exchange.

Update: Here's the response Joe Burton just emailed me (1:48 EDT):

Cisco views Unified Communications as a powerful set of tools for accelerating productivity and transforming business processes.

We are not focused simply on entering the mailbox business. We want to provide the full range of unified communications and collaboration capabilities delivered within the context of business applications and to any device that our customers choose.

Our acquisition of PostPath and its group calendaring and email technology to supplement our WebEx Connect Saas platform is part of our commitment to provide a comprehensive collaboration platform.

By offering a complete platform--from text to TelePresence--we can provide our customers with a portfolio of capabilities designed to meet all their collaboration needs.

Additionally, Cisco will continue to provide best in the market integrations to market leading email providers such as IBM and Microsoft.

For more information, I recommend listening to: http://www.cisco.com/web/about/ac78/audio/ARPodcast_cisco_acquisition_08...

We are not focused simply on entering the mailbox business. We want to provide the full range of unified communications and collaboration capabilities delivered within the context of business applications and to any device that our customers choose.

Our acquisition of PostPath and its group calendaring and email technology to supplement our WebEx Connect Saas platform is part of our commitment to provide a comprehensive collaboration platform.

By offering a complete platform--from text to TelePresence--we can provide our customers with a portfolio of capabilities designed to meet all their collaboration needs.

Additionally, Cisco will continue to provide best in the market integrations to market leading email providers such as IBM and Microsoft.

For more information, I recommend listening to: http://www.cisco.com/web/about/ac78/audio/ARPodcast_cisco_acquisition_08...