Monday, March 05, 2007

Cisco Embraces Social Networking

Next week Cisco plans to announce that it is buying the technology assets of Tribe.net, a little known social networking site with eight employees, according to today's New York Times.

At first glance, it seems an odd pairing - the networking giant with a funky social networking site. But the game plan becomes more apparent when you add this news to the February announcement of the acquisition of Five Across, which offers Connect Community Builder, a platform that helps companies "augment their websites with full-featured communities and user-generated content such as audio/video/photo sharing, blogs, podcasts and profiles."

The NYT conjecture is that Cisco plans to use Tribe.net to bring its corporate customers together in an online community. It's probably not a coincidence that the Cisco home page says "Welcome to the human network."

The Cisco site includes a helpful page, "Acquistions Summary," which rationalizes each one of its acquisitons. Of Five Across, Cisco says: "Social networking functions are of unique interest to media companies, sports leagues, affinity groups and any organization wishing to increase its interactive with its online constituency."

They could have added, "Like us for example."

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