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Cisco Challenges Microsoft-Skype On Video Interoperability

September 6, 2012 | Telepresence Options
By Dan Worth,

OSLO: Cisco has reiterated its concerns that Microsoft's acquisition of Skype could see the firm create a "walled garden" ecosystem around its video services that could hamper the growth of the video conferencing industry.

Microsoft's $12bn buy of Skype was first announced in May 2011 and was given European Commission (EC) approval later that year. However, Cisco issued a warning that it believes the Redmond firm may make Skype's video offering a closed system.

Speaking in Oslo during a tour of the firm's R&D facilities in Norway, OJ Winge, the senior vice president of Cisco's Collaboration Technology Group, repeated this warning as it sees no change in Skype's strategy.

"We're not happy with Skype for what they are doing. The voice offering is open but their video offering is set to remain proprietary. We have seen this before as companies try and make video a closed system to try and gain a competitive advantage," he said.

"The move towards interoperability is happening but not all players are as open around video and have tried to build walled gardens around their services. But I believe in the future, customers' demand will force everyone to be interoperable."

Winge cited the growth of the internet on the same IP technologies as proof interoperable systems usually win out against closed platforms.

"The way we [Cisco] built IP networks had to be through open standards and working together with others to make it all work together, so it doesn't matter what type of network you're on when looking for content," he said.

Microsoft's purchase of Skype has been followed by its $1.2bn deal for Yammer as the firm pushes into the collaboration market, placing it in direction competition with Cisco which is also heavily focusing on this market.

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