Polycom Ramps Up Cisco Competition with HP Video Collaboration Buy - Page 2

title=An Intensely Competitive Market}

For HP, the deal-expected to close in the third quarter-means it can free itself from a telepresence business that was struggling to gain traction against Cisco, Jain said. HP last year teamed up with Vidyo in hopes of gaining ground, but that didn't seem to help.

"Competing with giants like Cisco and Polycom in the [video conferencing] market was not easy for HP," she said. "Halo had not seen the same success as its competitors. It makes sense for them to get out of a business that's not a core competency, in a market that's becoming intensely competitive."

With Microsoft, Polycom is expanding its relationship with the software giant through a project called "Rally" in which Microsoft's Lync UC (unified communications) technologies will be able to connect with Polycom endpoints via the Lync UI. Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president and head of UC at Microsoft, said the two companies will preview Rally at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in July, and that the first products stemming from the initiative will ship in the fourth quarter.

The creation of the OVCC is another step in Polycom's efforts to create greater interoperability within the video collaboration space. After initially pushing back at Cisco TIP effort to create a protocol for interoperability among video communications systems, Polycom officials in February announced they would adopt the specification. The OVCC is a natural progression down the same path, Polycom officials said.

By creating a common platform, Polycom and the various service providers would enable businesses that use different providers and technologies to communicate easily and without networking or compatibility issues, with the capabilities delivered via the cloud through the service providers. According to Joe Zarb, vice president of emerging technologies at Polycom, the company and service providers have been talking for a year about creating the consortium.

Scott Stevens, vice president of worldwide technology at Juniper Networks, another OVCC founding member, said that in an industry that is demanding greater integration, openness and interoperability among collaboration technologies, partnerships are key. As an example, Stevens said the tight integration between Polycom and Juniper products outperform those from Cisco.

Polycom's Miller said the OVCC is not a closed consortium; many other service providers want to join, and he said he is hoping Cisco will as well. Products and services from the OVCC could start hitting the market as early as the fourth quarter, he said.