Mergers & Acquisitions

Mergers & Acquisitions

August 29, 2011

Cisco Acquires Versly

Cisco announced this morning (August 29) that it has acquired privately-held San Francisco startup Versly — developers of software that integrates collaboration capabilities via a plug-in into Microsoft (News - Alert) Office applications. The plug-ins are designed to simplify the way people work by enabling more effective collaboration around content in:

  • WORD documents
  • Excel spreadsheets
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Email

In the press release announcing the acquisition, Murali Sitaram, vice president and general manager, Collaboration Software Group (CSG), Cisco stated, "Collaboration is a top priority at Cisco. With this acquisition we're enhancing our collaboration offerings and improving the user experience by integrating social technologies within the business applications individuals and teams use at work…Furthermore, the integration with Versly will drive productivity improvements for organizations and their knowledge workers, many of whom are among the 600 million Microsoft Office users."

Versly's software will be integrated into a variety of Cisco's collaboration offerings including:

  • Cisco Quad
  • Cisco Jabber
  • Cisco WebEx

An example of this would be users receiving automatic notifications within Cisco Quad when a document has undergone a content change. This could be immediately escalated from simply reviewing a document to an instant messaging session through Cisco Jabber, or the initiation of a web conferencing session from a presentation through Cisco WebEx.

As amplified in the recent earnings call, the $45 billion addressable market for collaboration is one of Cisco’s five company priorities for the company going forward as it restructures:

  1. Core – routing, switching, and services
  2. Collaboration
  3. Data center virtualization and cloud
  4. Video
  5. Architectures for business transformation.

Versly, which upon closing of the deal will be integrated into Cisco CSG, was still in private beta. The company was started by former BEA (News - Alert) and Sun executive Benjamin Renaud and former Yahoo executive Erik Eccles. According to the Versly web site, investors (who despite tough conditions got a nice early exit) included Accel Partners, Baseline Ventures, and 500 Startups along with angel investors Scott Dietzen, Kenny Van Sant, Jonathan Katzman, and Rasool Rayani.  Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Given the need to continue to fortify unified communications capabilities both from traditional competitors, and looking down the road at potential encroachment from social media ecosystems, bringing this type of collaboration enhancement in-house makes strategic sense.  One can expect demonstrations of the new collaboration capabilities in the near future.

In the meantime, click below to view an interview with Cisco SVP Brett Galloway (News - Alert) at Interop Vegas 2011.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Peter Bernstein is a technology industry veteran, having worked in multiple capacities with several of the industry's biggest brands, including Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent, Telcordia, HP, Siemens, Nortel (News - Alert), France Telecom, and others, and having served on the Advisory Boards of 15 technology startups. To read more of Peter's work, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

blog comments powered by Disqus