At the 2014 Enterprise Connect Conference in Orlando, Florida this week, Rowan Trollope, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group, announced that Cisco and Google would be teaming up to battle Microsoft. Is this a strategic partnership or a relationship of convenience?
Let’s review some data points.
They both have unique and competing products
For Google, the partnership offers an offensive position against Microsoft. The Cisco relationship facilitates entry into large enterprises where Cisco and Microsoft are entrenched and where Microsoft has dominated with its enterprise software at the desktop and server for many years. Now, it will be interesting to see if Google Apps can more quickly take market share away from one of Microsoft’s core offerings – Microsoft Office – in the enterprise market, especially since many enterprises have multi-year Microsoft software license agreements.A Cisco & Google Partnership is a game-changer in the world of #unifiedcommunications Click To Tweet
For Cisco, who is already in most of the large enterprises, the partnership offers both an offensive and defensive position against Microsoft. The offensive playbook includes making Cisco Webex available with Google’s Chromebook. Google has experienced 10x year to year growth in Google Chromebook sales, while Cisco Webex is the dominant online meeting application with approximately 65% market share. This is a genius move by Cisco in order to attack the entire market from SMB to large enterprise in private and public sectors. From a defensive position, having Google Apps replace Microsoft office is important. Microsoft has been successful in deploying Microsoft Lync – the unified communications software suite – on most desktops in the Fortune 500. Microsoft has also begun to deploy Microsoft Lync into the meeting rooms.
With this said, the stakes are high for Cisco with Microsoft Lync adoption increasing. It is critical for Cisco to stop the Microsoft incursion into their turf to protect its core offerings – Cisco Unified Collaboration Manager and its underlying technology comprised of servers and network routers/switches.
In conclusion, this partnership is smart and strategic for both Cisco and Google to combat Microsoft, especially in the enterprise market space.