The recently closed buyout of email and calendaring software expert PostPath was a small but significant instant upgrade to Cisco's collection of business-ready software as a service (SaaS) collaboration software. Then the company bought out Jabber, the software foundation behind a well-known instant messaging platform. Despite the lack of published financial details, I can tell you that this is a much bigger deal.
The XML-based Jabber protocol has an open-source pedigree and aims for open communication across any instant-messaging platfom you choose. A Jabber server ties together disparate and proprietary messaging systems like Microsoft's
Tightening the thumbscrews on Google would be a surprising and stupid move, though. "Our intention is to be the interoperability benchmark in the collaboration space," says Doug Dennerline, Cisco's VP of communications software, and the company is way more likely to help its customers organize whatever messaging systems they have than to impose its will with an iron fist. Remember, one of Cisco's defining attributes is its close collaboration with major clients like Hewlett-Packard
Cisco is taking on established intra-office chatting solutions like IBM's
Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns a few shares of Google, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure is all about the Benjamins.