Microsoft and Google are set to get an unlikely competitor in the cloud-based office suite market: networking giant Cisco.
According to an article over on The Business Insider
, the company – better known for its high-end ranges of networking equipment for corporations, and its lower end SOHO gear sold under the Linksys brand – is looking to add document drafting and collaborative working facilities to its WebEx conferencing facility.
The move – which is the first major change Cisco will have wrought with the company since it bought it outright in 2007 – will see the company competing in a growing marketplace with industry giants Microsoft and Google.
Microsoft, of course, has a near-monopoly on the desktop: its Office suite has long been the staple for both corporate and educational markets, and its slow but steady move to an online model – currently limited to document sharing and basic collaboration facilities – is likely to impress consumers with a familiar name.
Google, on the other hand, has no offline name to trade on: instead, it represents the best-known global Internet brand; one of the few companies to have made it to the status of verb – as in, “to Google
” instead of “to search
.” With a brand like that, the company's popular range of cloud-based office packages – which include word processing and spreadsheet functionality – would have a hard job failing.
Cisco enters this market place – already dominated by one company online and another offline – as a relative newcomer: although its WebEx subsidiary has been offering web-based meeting functionality for quite some time, this marks its first tentative foray into true collaborative working. How much traction the Cisco name will have in this burgeoning market remains to be seen.
Are you interested in seeing what Cisco brings to the table, or is this merely the company's attempt at convincing investors its $3.2 billion (£1.95 billion) purchase of WebEx isn't wasted money? Share your thoughts over in the forums