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Cisco Microsoft Collaboration

Posted by tggokul on August 29, 2007

I was talking with one of the thought leaders/industry observer in the Unified Communication space and he came up with an interesting theory as to what areas Cisco and Microsoft can collaborate.

As you might already know, last week Steve Balmer and John Chambers decided to set aside differences, as they call it, “for the better good” ( Read “destroy Asterisk”) and work more closely so that they can offer meaningful solutions to the end customer. Based on the discussion I had with the gentleman mentioned above, it became pretty evident that Speech recognition is one such area where they most probably would work together.

Microsoft had a pretty vibrant Speech Recognition development team until one of the senior guys Kai-Fu Lee defected to the other side (Google). People who had been following that story would know of the legal battle that took place between Google and Microsoft when Lee left Microsoft. What is not commonly known though is that Lee was the chief evangelist of the Speech Recognition practice in Microsoft and most of the innovations in MS-Speech was his brain-children.So Microsoft kind of lost steam when he quit. They were already way behind market leader Nuance and this did not help their case. But it looks like they have started to become an active force in this domain. From what I hear, some releases are on the way.

Now about Cisco. Cisco has been way behind in the contact center business and even way behind when it comes to self service technologies ( IVR). Their product suite that includes IP IVR and CVP largely depend on Nuance for the speech recognition platform and licenses. So let’s say a customer wants Cisco CVP with speech recognition. He ends up paying a lot for Nuance licenses and since there is nobody really to challenge Nuance’s position, they have been having a free ride so far.

This is where Cisco and Microsoft could get together. Cisco, like a lot of other Microsoft products, could OEM MS speech and include it as part of its platform. What MS speech lacks today is credibility/customer base and if Cisco can OEM it, it would be a good start for Microsoft. It would help Cisco because the cost to the customer is less and a better value proposition. If Steve and John are going to put their money where their money is, Speech technology would be a good place to start!!!

3 Responses to “Cisco Microsoft Collaboration”

  1. anonymous said

    That would mean Cisco adopting SALT or Microsoft adopting VoiceXML or both adopting both technologies. There are strong advocates in both the camps.

    A better start would be for Microsoft to allow Cisco technology into their internal contact center and for MSFT’s thousands of employees to start using Cisco Phones.

    Cisco agrees to use Exchange, sharepoint and MS Live products and initiatives to be easily integrated with Cisco Unified Communications products.

    Even if the above would happen, there would still be differences since Webex is now owned by Cisco and this acquisition will go a VERY LONG way.

    My 2c.

  2. […] on September 5th, 2007 Tehrani has posted Nortel’s Tony Rybczynski reaction on Microsoft-Cisco partnership. What it tells me is that Nortel is not concerned too much about the new found love between Cisco […]

  3. […] has posted Nortel’s Tony Rybczynski reaction on Microsoft-Cisco partnership. What it tells me is that Nortel is not concerned too much about the new found love between Cisco […]

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