Cisco is thinking about how to stretch its dollar, specifically the return on $3.2 billion invested in online communicator WebEx. The WebEx platform seems ideal for building online collaboration products, so Cisco SVP Doug Dennerline and his team told attendees at this year's Cisco Live conference that they're thinking about a WebEx-fueled office suite.
That could mean that we're about to get a Cisco-powered online office suite to rival the best that Microsoft
WebEx has always been great at online messaging and information-sharing, so it's not a large leap to make. I'd imagine that this product, if it comes to market, would compete more with the Google Wave messaging portal than with Docs -- or perhaps tie into it under Wave's wide-open platform. Together, they'll keep putting the screws to Microsoft Office; threatening its near-monopoly on business users and introducing new collaboration features it currently lacks.
And of course, Cisco isn't above buying its way into new markets. Imagine the fireworks you'd get if Cisco paired WebEx up with Zoho, or perhaps took OpenOffice off Sun Microsystems'
Don't expect Cisco to start renting out computing power, though. Cloud-based infrastructure is all the rage at IBM and Amazon.com
I don't agree with that assessment at all, but it's easy to see why Cisco would prefer selling servers and routers into these clouds instead of hosting them internally. You're getting fewer headaches that way, Cisco, but you're also passing up some stellar opportunities here. You can help me tell Cisco why they're wrong in the comments box below -- or take the company's side if you want.
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.