Cisco and Email


A major flaw with the CIsco email model was encouraging the use of Outlook as the client.

If you don’t control the client, and only emulate and Exchange server, then the best you can really do is be as good as Exchange rather than be better. The opportunity is to move away from clients in general – leverage the web/HTML5 to create a powerful user experience. If it was just a strategy to facilitate migration it made sense, but were they developing a compelling web front-end?

They complained Email is a commodity, but it would seem that was their strategy. Go figure…

On NoJItter: I wrote:

I find Cisco dropping out of hosted email fairly surprising; and not. Zeus agrees with Cisco and thinks the move was logical. I don’t. I think the move was financial. And I think it was a short term move with long term ramifications. A sad ending to a potentially great story.

Cisco is a public company. For the past three quarters, it has warned of declining public spending, weaker margins, and increased competition. The stock is currently trading near its 52-week low. There is no doubt of internal pressure to find margin today, not tomorrow; and I am speculating here, but I suspect Cisco email isn’t yet the profit center it could be. I’ve seen it before, bad things happen to good ideas during times like these.

There isn’t much more to say about what happened. The bigger conversation is why it’s significant.

Enterprise organizations are seriously evaluating the cloud, and trying to determine what, if anything, makes sense to move to the cloud. Email appears to be an application that frequently makes sense. Largely because so many of the users and devices connecting to it are no longer at a headquarters location any more. Google is obviously aggressively courting organizations to move to Google Apps. Microsoft intends soon to launch Office365 with hosted email and Office, and IBM is investing heavily in Lotus Live.

Cisco suggested that email is a commodity, and there is some truth to that. Most email engines offer fairly similar services. But what gets hidden in that notion is how email binds so many applications together. Email today drags calendar and contacts, and office productivity applications. There is also likely a strong correlation to presence and IM. Now we are clearly out of the commodity discussion and we still aren’t done yet–video? voice? collaboration?

See the rest:
Cisco and Email: Time is Money (NoJitter)

Dave Michels