Cisco Systems has completed its acquisition of Webex Communications, thus entering the online collaboration services business through a US$3.2 billion deal, the company announced yesterday.
Cisco will maintain Webex's current business model of selling subscriptions for a web-based service to enterprises that don't want to buy or build a collaboration system of their own, especially small and medium-size organisations. The Santa Clara, California, company is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Cisco, which plans to retain all its employees, said Cisco spokesman John Noh.
The acquisition, announced in March, further extends a networking equipment giant that is increasingly positioning itself as a software and services company. It followed buyouts of two social-networking companies, Five Across and Utah Street Networks and all the technologies will complement each other, Chief Development Officer Charles Giancarlo said in March.
The Webex service lets companies share presentations, applications and other data online, either asynchronously or in real-time sessions. The buyout will help Cisco compete against Microsoft and other vendors in collaboration and communication, and Webex technology could also enhance Cisco's Unified Communications portfolio, according to Giancarlo.
Webex also offers a suite of productivity applications under the Weboffice brand, but Cisco doesn't plan to compete against desktop application suites such as Microsoft's Office or Google's Google Apps, he said.