...And this is why everyone should meet virtually instead of physically traveling. I got up early this morning, did a quick news check to see if there were any overnight or early morning announcements I needed to react to, and got in the car for an 8-hour drive to attend a friend's retirement party. Upon reaching my hotel and plugging in to the Internet, there's the story waiting for me... Already old news by virtual communication standards and well covered by everyone in the business community.
If you haven't seen the official press release from Cisco, you can read it here. They have agreed to acquire WebEx for the equivalent of $3.2 billion US. The deal works out at $57/share for common stock holders of WebEx. For those of you who like to kick yourself in hindsight, you could have purchased WebEx at $34/share on January 22.
There's no way I can do the coverage justice in the short time I have available in my hotel room right now, so I'm going to direct interested readers to www.ConferencingNews.com to go through their portal of coverage links on the story.
In short, this instantly makes Cisco the industry leader (by market share) in the web conferencing industry, catapulting them past Microsoft and giving them a great technology base from which to attack the holy grail of a unified communications platform for enterprise use.
Let's see... Microsoft acquired Placeware, Adobe acquired Macromedia Breeze, West Communications (InterCall) acquired Raindance, and Cisco acquired WebEx. The list of acquisition candidates for large scale enterprise conferencing packages is awfully sparse now. The only ones left with some significant market share and recognition value are iLinc, ON24, and Citrix (if someone wanted to acquire the Citrix Online division). Although there are plenty of other technologies, they aren't on the same plain.
It's ironic that my mention of WebEx today would otherwise have been a reference to blog coverage and discussion surrounding a session at the Community 2.0 conference this week. Diane Davidson (director of customer marketing for WebEx) gave a presentation that struck some in the audience as too much sales pitch, not enough subject content. Then there was a tough Q&A session in the room. You can read comments from attendees and Diane in some back and forth in the following blog entries:
There is fascinating content in all these articles and I don't have the time to do them justice. Recommended reading for those who like to track such things. Is the discussion moot now with the new corporate ownership? Unlikely. The WebEx division should still be wanting to foster community and the Cisco owners should want as much customer satisfaction and product/service quality as possible associated with their name.
More when I have the time to dig in. Why don't companies schedule these things in accordance with my schedule?!