Cisco Systems, the networking giant that has been extending its cover to sectors such as unified communications and collaboration, has acquired open-source instant messaging software maker Jabber for an undisclosed sum.
Cisco will embed and offer Jabber's XCP for users through both Cisco's on-premise unified communications suite and and its SAAS (software as a service) WebEx Connect application, said Alex Hadden-Boyd, director of marketing of Cisco WebEx, in a podcast about the deal.
Jabber also makes JabberNow, an appliance version of its enterprise instant messaging software, and desktop and Web client software to provide multi-user chat.
Jabber, whose core technology is the open source XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol), is famous for the integration of presence data across different devices, users and applications, allowing multiple instant messaging to "talk" to one another.
For example, a Jabber user can send and instant message to anyone using Microsoft Office Communications Server, IBM Sametime, AOL AIM, Google Talk and Yahoo instant Messenger.
Cisco said it expects to close the deal in the first half of fiscal year 2009, with Jabber's 50 employees joining the Cisco CSG (Collaboration Software Group).
Indeed, I expect Denver-based Jabber to provide a shot of credibility and new users to the existing presence and messaging capabilities within Cisco's collaboration software suite.
More than 10 million users, including workers in AT&T, Bank of Ireland, BT, Department of Homeland Security, Earthlink, FedEx and JP Morgan, use software from Jabber.
The deal will also make Cisco a tougher rival to others in the UCC space, including Microsoft, IBM, Google and several other smaller players.
A Cisco purchase of Jabber would have been tough to fathom just five or six years ago. However, the company, which buttered its bread selling routers that speed data packets across cables, has been extending its tendrils to new markets after networking gear sales slowed down.
To wit, Cisco said in a press statement, the deal dovetails with its "build, buy and partner" innovation strategy to move quickly into new markets and capture key market transitions.
Some of those purchases have included Web conferencing giant WebEx, messaging security software maker IronPort, security software maker Securent and e-mail storage provider PostPath.
Cisco bid to buy PostPath Aug. 27 for $215 million to compete with Microsoft's Exchange e-mail server.