February 16, 2012, 11:27 AM — Does Cisco have non-buyer's remorse over the Microsoft/Skype union?
Cisco this week appealed the European Commission's approval of Microsoft's $8.5 billion takeover of Skype, citing the possibility that Microsoft may take Skype in a proprietary direction and impede interoperability with other vendor's video offerings. Cisco and Microsoft are fierce competitors in unified communications and collaboration, which includes video conferencing and chat capabilities like those provided by Skype.
But Cisco also apparently passed up the opportunity to acquire Skype 18 months ago just before the company was looking to go public in a $5 billion IPO. At that time, Cisco was rumored to be considering buying Skype.
Now, after bypassing that opportunity, Cisco is looking to block Microsoft's closure of the Skype deal. If Cisco didn't view Skype as a needed asset, why impede Microsoft's purchase of the company?
It's just business - nothing personal.
"I think this appeal's about business," says analyst Henry Dewing of Forrester Research. "They compete in the Unified Communications space. By tying (Microsoft) up, having to figure out one more thing they have to so with the EU, that prevents them from moving forward for a while."
Cisco may also be looking for Microsoft to give up a Skype jewel before being able to close the deal, says Rich Costello, senior research analyst for Unified Communications at IDC.