Cisco nixes hosted email: Where does email fit in the collaboration mix?

Summary:Cisco will sunset its Web email, which has been on the market since November 2009 for trial customers. The company plans to focus its collaboration efforts elsewhere.

Cisco will sunset its Web email, which has been on the market since November 2009 for trial customers. The company plans to focus its collaboration efforts elsewhere.

In a blog post, Cisco said it thought the transition to the cloud would make its hosted email---Cisco Mail---a hit. However, Cisco customers said email is "a mature and commoditized tool versus a long-term differentiated element of their collaboration strategy."

That would be code for the fact Cisco couldn't see a way to scale in a crowded hosted email market. Indeed, it's a bit hard to compete with Google, Microsoft and IBM's Lotus franchise. All offer hosted arrangements.

Cisco said it will reassign the folks that built Cisco Mail to other collaboration projects.

The move to nix hosted email is likely to be blown out of proportion as a retreat given Cisco hired a new operating chief to streamline the company and is in a networking dogfight with Juniper and HP. The Cisco Mail decision should be viewed independently.

But the death of Cisco Mail does raise a larger question: Where does email fit into the collaboration mix?

While most folks acknowledge that email has run its course, the bottom line is that a lot of business is conducted that way. Do collaboration players need email as the price of admission?

I'd argue that email and collaboration are likely to morph into one big category. Clearly, Google thinks email is part of the mix. Microsoft is looking to leverage Outlook as a collaboration tool. In many respects, email is the price of admission to the collaboration category.

What are your thoughts on email and collaboration? Are they separate or the same suite of tools?

Topics: Enterprise Software, Cisco, Collaboration, Software

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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