June 30, 2009

Microsoft Office May Have A New Competitor

Cisco Systems Inc. is considering development of a Web-based alternative to compete with Microsoft Corp's Office software.

Dough Dennerline, Cisco Senior Vice President, said on Tuesday that his company is looking into developing a service that would allow business users to create documents that could be drafted and shared through its WebEx meeting and collaboration service.

Internet alternatives to Microsoft's Office popped up about five years ago, but corporate users did not take advantage of them.  The business from Microsoft Office has brought sales of $60 billion in the most recent fiscal year.

Google Inc. has an alternative to Microsoft Office also known as Google Apps, which includes a spreadsheet, word processor and presentation software.

Dennerline said that he is interested in the project.  He also manages Cisco's collaboration products.

"That is an interesting space. We are certainly thinking about that," he said on Tuesday during an online news conference. He did not elaborate.

He also said that Cisco is not interested in competing with Salesforce.com Inc. in selling online applications that companies use to manage sales and marketing activities.

It has long been speculated by analysts that Cisco would get into that business.

Currently, WebEx offers online meetings, email and instant messaging services.


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