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Optical/IP

Cisco (Heart) Microsoft

2:00 PM -- I'll admit it: I didn't tune in live to today's Cisco/Microsoft event, where John Chambers and Steve Ballmer are getting interviewed by Charlie Rose.

I mean, come on: What were they going to say? It's not a merger announcement or a declaration of war, although the latter would be worth watching. It's a PR stunt, part of the ongoing Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) campaign to be in the public eye.

More important, it's a chance for the companies to say they'll be both partners and competitors. Isn't that nice. By catching the replay, I can get that message while fast-forwarding through the talk of synergy, interoperability, and end-to-endness.

This doesn't change an industrywide suspicion that Cisco is going to end up muscling into Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) turf. As Cisco gets more deeply involved in video, its talk of application-aware networks becomes more crucial. And the basic question will still be: Where does the control lie? On the application side or the network side? (See Cisco's Secret Software Strategy and Cisco Speaks Applications.)

Cisco and Microsoft will propose opposite answers to that question. So it's nice that they're all pals in front of Charlie Rose, but that doesn't make them Best Friends Forever.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:03:48 PM
re: Cisco (Heart) Microsoft Just got this in the in-box: Commentary from Jan Dawson, analyst with Ovum's U.S. Enterprise Practice.

Great title: "Cisco and Microsoft hold hands while kicking each other under the table."

A snippet of Dawson's comments: "The tension between seeking competitive advantage through proprietary technology and establishing interoperability through open standards will remain, and both companies will have to make tough decisions about where to draw the line between the two. Hopefully they will both move a little further in the direction of interoperability, but they will both also continue to do their best to create a world where the other isnGÇÖt needed."
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