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Microsoft-Cisco merger off ;-)

by David Mercer | 8月 20, 2007

OK, it was never on; nor was it ever likely. But with Ballmer and Chambers on the same platform it's understandable the rumour mills might be turning. The message from the joint CEO presentation is simply that both companies are cooperating in looking after their customers, which shouldn't be a surprise. And that their products will "interoperate", which will also be helpful. To be fair, they also share the same vision, of a world of connected devices interconnecting seamlessly, etc. etc., but then they are also hardly unique in that respect either. It would be strange if Microsoft and Cisco were not partners. One does software, one does pipes. The companies' core activities are naturally complementary, a point that seemed to be lost on interviewer Charlie Rose. His persistent questions on business overlap missed the central point of conflict in the companies' strategic visions, which has to do with openness and standards. As we identified in our February report: "Cisco's plans to become the consumer technology brand of the 2010s are only the beginning; the company’s proposed transformation of technology industry business models has the potential to threaten every established player, from Sony and Panasonic to Apple and Microsoft, while offering unprecedented opportunities to any new entrant that is prepared to invest in the connected consumer vision." Cisco's particular vision hinges on impartiality with respect to technology standards, hardly something that Microsoft is likely to agree on. At CES, Chambers suggested that the days of technology standards battles such as Blu-ray/HD-DVD (read Java/Microsoft) will be consigned to history with the emergence of horizontal IP open standards-based networked devices. Cisco and Microsoft may x-operate (cooperate, interoperate) because their common customers (notably service providers) need them to, but that doesn't make them any closer partners than other pairings of technology vendors and network builders. Ballmer and Chambers could only tie the merger knot if one or both of them are prepared to make a radical shift in strategic direction. Add to Technorati Favorites
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