Cisco buys IM specialist Jabber
US networking supplier Cisco wants to take over instant-messaging specialist Jabber Inc.. Cisco's press release about the planned acquisition gives no financial details. The takeover is expected to complete within the first half of Cisco's business year, by January 2009.
With its Jabber XCP server, Jabber Inc. has promoted interoperability between various public Internet-based IM systems like AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and Microsoft Messenger. It can also link to enterprise IM systems such as IBM Lotus Sametime, and the open XMPP protocol derived from the original Jabber project is the basis of services such as Livejournal's LJTalk, Google's free VOIP offering Google Talk and many others.
The presence and messaging server is also particularly easy to integrate into web-conferencing programs like Adobe's Acrobat Connect or Cisco's Webex. In addition, the Jabber XCP server's highly scalable architecture can accommodate far greater simultaneous numbers of users per host server than the popular free services.
So far, Jabber Inc has not commented on the planned acquisition announced last Friday. Cisco's press releases give no details about whether there will be changes to Jabber's open source business model and whether the interoperability with competing systems will be preserved.
An interesting question is also whether the integration with Acrobat Connect will continue. Earlier this month, Adobe acquired Jabber competitor Antepo. As both companies now own their own web-conferencing and instant-messenging systems, they both may choose to integrate their systems "vertically", making access more difficult for their rivals.
In addition, Cisco took over Linux based mail server Postpath, a wire-compatible Exchange Server replacement, in August after also acquiring Ironport, an email security specialist. Given this flurry of acquisitions, there is speculation that Cisco could start offering a web conferencing service, similar to Adobe's Connect Pro, with Webex.