Andreessen vs. Cisco: Web 2.0 platform competition heats up

Andreessen vs. Cisco: Web 2.0 platform competition heats up

Summary: Is Marc Andreessen, Netscape co-creator and Ning turnkey social networking platform co-founder, worried that powerhouse Cisco is raining on his social networking parade?"The idea that Cisco is going to be a force in social networking is about as plausible as Ning being a force in optical switches,” he said to the New York Times.

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Is Marc Andreessen, Netscape co-creator and Ning turnkey social networking platform co-founder, worried that powerhouse Cisco is raining on his social networking parade?

"The idea that Cisco is going to be a force in social networking is about as plausible as Ning being a force in optical switches,” he said to the New York Times.

Isn’t any Web 2.0 social networking good social networking? Perhaps for social networkers, but not always for the platform providers that enable the social networking!

Cisco Systems is set to announce next week it is acquiring the technology assets of social networking platform Tribe.net, according to NYT reports.

This past week, Andreessen announced his Ning V.2 “perfect social networking” platform, touting it as the “software equivalent of Home Depot.”

Eight person Ning vs. $153 billion market cap Cisco in the race to be the “software equivalent of Home Depot”? Andreessen’s competitive, but defensive, posturing is not surprising.

Adreessen on the space:

The existing social networks are fantastic but they put users in a straitjacket. They are restrictive about what you can and can’t do, and they are not built to be flexible. They do not let people build and design their own worlds, which is the nature of what people want to do online.

Is Ning really unlocking the innate desire of people to “build and design their own worlds” online?

Upon Ning V2's launch I asked Web 2.0 one minute Social Network: Does size matter?, pointing out that while Social Network creation online may be free and easy thanks to readily available Web 2.0 technologies, the actual social networking part poses a pesky user engagement problem.

I put forth the lonely case of Ning user "Frantz23," noting his is a “Social Network of One” at Ning.

The Cisco networking reach is already proven, even socially. While Cisco may be buying the technology of a social networking platform, it’s efforts to spur a thriving, and Cisco enabled, Human (social) Network are well underway:

When we're all connected, great things happen. Join us and see how life on the network is changing life as we know it. Welcome to a place where we're all connected. Where remote villages are included. And your PDA is a stadium seat. Where home videos are experienced everywhere at once. And Web applications mash together to create new experiences. On the human network, wonderful things are happening everywhere.

Join us as we work, live, play and learn on the human network. Visit collaborative sites, share network stories, hear podcasts and watch videos, even contribute your thoughts to the human network. Together, we are more powerful than we ever could be apart. Share Your Human Network Story, Tell us how the human network has helped you make something great possible. 

Michael P. submitted his “human,” social networking story to Cisco, “If you make yourself findable, others will find you”: 

I used to be an investment banker. But in 1987, the stock market crashed. Not long after, I was an expert witness in a trial, and someone threatened my life. The stress of those events caused me to experience panic attacks and memory loss. I was diagnosed with manic-depressive bipolar disorder and immediately went on medication. Every day is a struggle for me. But I've learned that no matter what your situation, if you're honest with yourself and others, you'll find people who have compassion, who can relate to you, and who can learn something from you. I believe if you make yourself 'find-able,' others will find you. So I created a Website with help from friends. The goal is to encourage everyone to share their stories and ideas, without fear, with the world. Because who knows? Two scientists exchanging ideas online, who might never have met otherwise, may discover a cure for AIDS. Anything is possible. 

“How Cisco enables it all” is also shared, discreetly. 

Welcome to a network where Cisco routers and switches make it all possible, Cisco Foundation Technologies 

More and more, the network connects people with ideas to people who can make their ideas even better. So everyone's opinion can become part of the next big solution. And, together, we can all move our world forward. At the center of it all, Cisco routers and switches enable this collaborative interaction. 

Cisco technology fueled collaborative interaction versus the Ning one-minute social network platform? 

Perhaps Andreessen is revisiting Netscape history for start-up dos and don’ts!

UPDATE: Web 2.0 Social Networks: Cool but marginal and unprofitable?

Also: GOOGLE VS. CISCO?

Topic: Cisco

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2 comments
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  • Network of many

    So cisco in your eyes is better than a small company regardless of what each does but what I don't understand is the 'network of one' example you gave, aside from being legitimate if boring to do something for yourself -I personally prefer 43folders- that network you pointed at seems pre-launch, I just visited ning and there are lots of networks there with hundreds of people in each.

    Would there be as many of those if they had to pay for it from cisco and their human network? I don't think so.
    zdnetdude
  • RE: Andreessen vs. Cisco: Web 2.0 platform competition heats up

    Cisco has a secret weapon in the Web 2.0 space. His name is Craig Tobias. He has been responsible for the development of a number of internal Web 2.0 application at Cisco, and has recently been assigned to head up Web 2.0 for Cisco externally.

    http://supportwiki.cisco.com

    Craig special ability comes in the way he combines multiple applications together creating Mash-ups.
    jessicaclark