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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Cisco Kids Buy Up Social Nets

What is a pipes -- or is it series of tubes -- company doing eating up online communications and social networking companies like Rosie O'Donnell at an all you can eat buffet?

Cisco bought online meeting company WebEx for $3.2 billion. While WebEx is more about business than socializing, it's still a software company that focuses on bringing people together. Maybe there will be an ad-supported video conferencing version of MySpace in the near future? It must be nice to have $21 billion in small bills laying around that you can use to buy companies at will.

Other Cisco acquisitions:

NeoPath Networks -- a file storage company (maybe free doc storage for users?)
Utah Street Networks- operates social networking site Tribe.net
Five Across -- makes community software.

Cisco also signed an agreement if February to delivery Internet TV (IPTV) to rural areas of the U.S. If Google can get into free WiFi, why should a networking company get a piece of the content/community pie?

However, Cisco might be more focused on making social networking a part of the enterprise rather than attacking the consumer space. Corporate versions of MySpace that let companies talk to suppliers and customers behind the firewall, or maybe professional websites ala LinkedIn where people in an industry can share ideas.

It will be interesting to see which direction Cisco goes during the next few months.

By John Gartner at 04:13 PM | Comments (0)

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