For over a year there has been a clear customer demand for the topic Cloud and SaaS (software as a service). A big trend these days that companies combine both on-premise solutions with cloud based connectors. Some examples:
- Cisco acquired Scansafe and combined this with their on-premise acquisition of Ironport
- Cisco acquires Webex. Solution for webconferencing currently combined with videosolutions
- Microsoft to offer combinations of on-premise server solutions that work together with their cloub based BPOS solution
Acquisitions of Cloud based companies are all over the news today, to pick just two of today:
- HP ups 3PAR bid to $30 per share, tops Dell’s latest
- CA Technologies to Acquire Arcot Systems, Inc., a Visionary in Fraud Prevention, Advanced Authentication
Now a rumour was launched today of Cisco to buy Skype? The rumour was started by TechCrunch.
Skype was already offering Gateway solutions to established VOIP manufacturers like Cisco, Siemens, Alcatel, Shoretel and some others. This would allow a customer to dial Skype users on net when connecting with a SIP trunk to the Skype Cloud via Skype Connect.
So what if Cisco would buy Skype, what would this mean:
Bad news for competition
First of all, it wouldn’t be good for any other vendor or customer that wants to connect to the Skype cloud by using Skype connect. It would be likely that any other Gateway solutions with other vendors would be discontinued.
What features and functionality would this bring?
The biggest benefit would lay within the space of:
- voice (cisco could connect their Callmanager via a customer SIP trunk to the Skype cloud, home or roaming users could call free of charge to the office)
- video (same for video solutions to dial-into the Tandberg VCS (video communication server). The amount of people to video to would drastically increase and drive further video growth, leading to more Tandberg Business and Router/Switch sales for Cisco.
Cisco has to option to keep the Proprietary nature of Skype peer-to-peer voice, video and encryption mechanism or donate the standard the community, thereby setting the standard (over i.e. Micrsoft, Google or Apple). This could be willingly or under pressure by regulation (similar to TIPV6 protocol forced to donate by EU regulator). Other option could be to keep the functionality to itself and build also a massive presence among business users and integrate the functionality with their Linksys division.
No longer for free usage?
It could be that the Skype functionality would no longer be free for the consumer or to roaming business users. This would be too bad for all the relatives abroad, but yes the thin business model of Skype could not last forever. Everything for free ends one day or revenues should be made at another end (i.e. Google search and their paid Ads).
So all in all exiting times, take-overs of cloud companies can be a daily business.
Investors should seek cloud companies with a disruptive model, they are likely take over candidates for existing established players with deep pockets.