Cisco likes a lot to buy companies. Over the years, they have acquired hundreds of small companies, with no or little sales but with a promising technology.
It's in fact quite a clever way to make one's R&D in a fast growing and changing environment. Sure you pay a premium when buying companies, but it's definetly efficient as you know what you get for the dollars spent. At this acquisition game, Cisco really is a master !
On friday, they unveiled they were to buy a vendor in the social networking marketplace, Five Across, a 11 people company founded in 2003 by ex Apple and Adobe developers, based in San Francisco. (And nothing to do with blogging platform Six Apart which manages TypePad !).
The Five Across platform enables companies to place full-featured communities and user-generated content on their websites, such as audio, photo, video, blogs, profiles, etc. In essence, they offer white label turn-key social-networking/communities functions.
At first glance, it's a surprising move from Internet equipment maker Cisco but it illustrates what John
Chambers was saying in January, they wanted to have a more consumer-centric approach, adding that they could even acquire content companies ! Moreover, it does makes strategic sense for their core business : all these features that Five Across offers creates a need for more capacity, more equipment, more infrastructure that Cisco provided...
So, another giant in the web 2.0 arena, be it with a set of white label tools and not a community website. By acquiring a web 2.0 software company, Cisco becomes a competitor to Google and Yahoo...
No one sees Cisco sticking to a single small acquisition. They think big, they think strategic, long in advance. So they are more than very likely to buy other pieces to complement a global offer. They have a master plan in mind, but they are the only ones to know what it is.
See here article from News.com