With everybody from Google
Yesterday, Skype announced that it's poached a key VP from rival Cisco
Importantly, Bates has been recruited on the eve of Cisco's own announcement of a major move into home telephony. In its own press release yesterday, Cisco announced that it will hold a webcast tomorrow to reveal a "new Cisco consumer experience." The company played coy on the details, but word has it that Cisco will be laying out its latest effort to bring Internet-based video to Joe Public.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Cisco will price its new system -- a video camera that connects to your hi-def television -- for $600, plus a $30-a-month subscription fee. That may seem a bit much to pay for a higher-end version of something Skype gives away for free. Either way, though, Cisco seems to be breaking new ground here, offering the toiling masses of home-office workers a high-end videoconferencing capability that only well-heeled corporate muckety-mucks could previously afford.
Clash of the Titans?
Is this a battle royale for the hearts and minds of would be video-phoners? Is free video-chatter Skype trying to cut the legs out from under premium-video purveyor Cisco, just days before its big announcement?
Maybe. But from where I sit, Cisco wins this battle either way. To me, Cisco's grand plan extends well beyond bringing cheap-and-easy consumer electronics to the masses. Cisco wants to accelerate and broaden the consumption of bandwidth, so that companies such as Verizon
Under that scenario, it doesn't really matter whether consumers choose low-end or high-end videotelephony. All roads lead to a brighter future for Cisco.
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