Cisco buys collaboration software firm Versly


Cisco buys collaboration software firm Versly

Warwick Ashford

Cisco Systems has announced plans to acquire Versly, which integrates collaboration capabilities via a plug-in into Microsoft Office applications.

Collaboration is a top priority at Cisco, said Murali Sitaram, vice-president and general manager of Cisco's Collaboration Software Group.

"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," Murali Sitaram said.

As Cisco consolidates its business around its networking capabilities, expanding its collaboration architecture is one of five company priorities.

According to Cisco, collaboration represents a market of $45bn, and the acquisition of Versly will help Cisco and its partners tap into that market.

Analysts say the deal is an attempt by Cisco to catch up with competitors, such as Google and Salesforce, by acquiring the skills it lacks in collaboration and software-as-a-service.

Cisco plans to integrate Versly's software into a variety of Cisco's collaboration offerings including Cisco Quad, Cisco Jabber and Cisco WebEx.

This will mean users of Cisco Quad will receive automatic notifications when the content of a document has changed, for example. Users can then move from simply reviewing a document to an instant messaging session through Cisco Jabber, or initiate a web conferencing session from a presentation through Cisco WebEx.

"With this acquisition we are gaining strong talent and innovative technology that builds on Cisco's successful collaboration platform," said Ned Hooper, chief strategy officer at Cisco.

Upon the close of the acquisition, Versly employees will be integrated into Cisco. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

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