Why buy into legacy?
Last week, Cisco made another acquisition in the WebRTC space. This time, Cisco acquired Acano. Acano is a rather new company that started life in 2012 – close to WebRTC’s announcement.
Acano makes use of WebRTC, though I am not sure to what extent. There are 2 reasons Cisc lists for this acquisition:
- Interoperability – support for “legacy” video conferencing, Microsoft Skype and WebRTC
To me, scalability comes from thinking of video conferencing in the mindset of WebRTC – WebRTC services are mostly cloud based and built to scale (or at least should be). Old video conferencing models thought at the scale of a single company at best, with business models fitting the high end of the market only.
That brings me to why. Why is Cisco buying into legacy here?
If there’s anything that is interesting these days it is what happens in the realm of messaging. And for Cisco, this should mean Enterprise Messaging. I already stated earlier this year that Enterprise Messaging is a threat to Unified Communications.
Don’t believe me? How about these interesting moves:
- Atlassian, owner of HipChat (=Enterprise Messaging) acquiring BlueJimp, authors of the popular open source Jitsi Video bridge
- Slack searching for developers to “build audio conferencing, video conferencing and screen sharing into Slack”
- Cisco launching its own Cisco-Spark – a video conferencing service modeled around messaging
- Unify launching circuit – a video conferencing service modeled around messaging
- Broadsoft announcing UC-one – a video conferencing service modeled around messaging
Which brings me back to the question.
Why buy into legacy? At scale. With interoperability. Using fresh technology. But legacy nonetheless.
Why not go after Slack and just acquire it outright?
When Cisco wanted a piece of video conferencing, they didn’t acquire RADVISION – its main supplier at the time. It went after TANDBERG – the market leader.
Then why this time not buy the market leader of enterprise messaging and just get on with it?
Congrats to the Acano team on being acquired.
For Cisco, though, I think the challenges lie elsewhere.