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Microsoft is on Collision Course – But not with Google

Posted by tggokul on April 9, 2007

Much has been said about the rivalry that continues to grow between Microsoft and Google. Got to accept, it’s quite a story when two of the greatest ( and flashy) innovators of all times are at loggerheads. But to me, this is just a passing phase. The real fight is between Microsoft and Cisco and this is what shall define enterprise VoIP.

Now John Chambers is not the person who runs his mouth without reason. When he talks trash, you better be listening. John Chambers said

“Microsoft has given us a three-year lead. And we’ve never lost a game when we’ve had a three-year lead… It’s a battle we fully intend to win.”

The growth of Cisco and Microsoft is quite a Kane and Abel story ( you decide who is who) that would put Jeffrey Archer to shame. Both of them are from two very different spectrum. One from the Data Networking side and the other from the software world. And now they are eyeing the same market . The enterprise telephony market to cater to these companies’ unified communications” services. Cisco’s acquisition of Webex makes a lot of sense in this context.

And to make things interesting there is an ever growing perception that software rules in enabling communications in offices and not hardware as traditionally believed ( If you have been sleeping for the last 15 years, software is where Microsoft kills the opposition!!). So it’s a huge challenge for Cisco to compete in this space against Microsoft.

Microsoft has not been quiet either. It has strategically partnered with Nortel to enhance its unified communications portfolio. Though many see this partnership as Microsoft’s action plan against Avaya-Google partnership, I believe this alliance’s primary goal is to take down Cisco. Ofcourse, the recent acquistion of Tellme is a more direct poser to Cisco, since both Tellme and Cisco were competing in the same voice-enabled telephone services market.

Now Chambers’ claim that they are three years ahead is absolutely right, but as Saunders pointed out in one of recent posts, Microsoft is never in the game to play, they are there to win. It is an interesting battle, no doubt and the winners will be the startups who will be gobbled up by either of these parties if they have the slightest role to play in the unified communication space!!!


One Response to “Microsoft is on Collision Course – But not with Google”

  1. Madhavan said

    This promises to be the mother of all battles for three reasons:

    1. both are dominant players in their chosen technolgy areas
    2. both have demonstrated fiercely competitive attitude to business – sometime predatory!
    3. it is also a battle for control over application delivery – HW or SW as the platform

    I was at the Cisco conference in LV and this sentiment was visible.
    I was at the MSFT conference couple of years ago and their target was Google, then!

    My guess is that the winner takes it all in the UC sweepstakes:-)

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