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Cisco Enhances Collaboration Portfolio

Cisco Systems has announced several enhancements to its collaboration portfolio. Key takeaways include:

  • Cisco Webex Edge for Calling. This new software unifies existing Cisco and third-party products under the same Webex cloud service, delivering global dial plans, least-cost routing, and centralized services.
  • Three new hardware products: The new products include the Webex Desk Pro (Feb. 2020), Webex Panorama (early 2020), and the Headset 700 series (Dec. 2019). The Webex Desk Pro is of particular note: the device has a 27-inch 4K touchscreen with a USB-C connection. And it’s not restricted to only Webex – it works with any conferencing platform, including Microsoft, and it works with web apps. A notable capability of the Desk Pro includes the caller’s ability to blur out their surroundings or create a virtual background.
  • Cisco’s partnership with Microsoft. Though announced at Microsoft Ignite the week prior, Cisco restated the improved interoperability between Webex Teams and Microsoft Teams that will launch early 2020.

Source: Cisco Unified Communications Scorecard at SoftwareReviews. Accessed November 11, 2019

Our Take

Cisco’s enhancement to their collaboration portfolio reinforces the growth that the organization has seen for their collaboration suite over the past year. However, despite these gains, the organization as a whole continues to be struck by slower enterprise spending and the ongoing US-China trade dispute.

Indeed, in the same week as Cisco’s collaboration announcement, Piper Jaffray downgraded Cisco from overweight to neutral. In other words, Cisco’s stock return is projected to be in line with the industry average, rather than return a higher amount. After all, Cisco’s shares fell nearly 16% in August, reversing its broader 2019 uptrend.

Cisco consumers will certainly be rejoicing at the partnership with Microsoft. However, it will be interesting to see whether the eventual power dynamics of this relationship will be Microsoft taking advantage of a weakening Cisco organization, bringing Webex users into the Office 365 ecosystem

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