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August 20, 2007

Microsoft and Cisco promise again to compete but interoperate

Posted by David Hunter at 4:47 PM ET.

Today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Cisco CEO John Chambers participated in an odd event hosted by PBS talker Charlie Rose that was apparently meant to allay customer fears that the competition between the two for the business communications business would divide the landscape into two non-interoperable warring camps.

If you are interested in the details there is a replay of the webcast and a briefing document whose title, Microsoft-Cisco Alliance Update, sums up the situation well enough. Last year (e.g. [1], [2]), Microsoft and Cisco apparently decided that their emerging individual pursuits of the enterprise communications business weren’t playing too well with customers who actually had to use the fairly complex systems. In a nutshell, the average customer will have products from both Cisco and Microsoft (and their respective allies) in house for other reasons and doesn’t want to be forced to choose either one or the other. Hence, this renewal of shotgun wedding vows for the two competitors who will, of course, still be scuffling behind the scenes while smiling for the camera.

Filed under Cisco, Coopetition, Microsoft

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