Microsoft And Cisco: Friends Forever

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Microsoft (MSFT) and Cisco (CSCO) want to make it clear that, although they compete, they are friends. According to Reuters, even though the two companies both make "unified communications" systems that tie together e-mail, phones and other tools over Internet networks, the systems from the two companies will inter-operate. Customers should not worry that incompatible features will ruin their IT efforts.

MSFT has had these press conferences before. There was one with AAPL a number of years ago when Redmond put money into the Mac company and said it would build Windows versions for the AAPL machine. The has been one with Sun Microsystems (SUNW) to bury an old hatchet between the two firms. And, one with Novell (NOVL) to announced a venture that would market Linux and Windows together as products that can both be used together efficiently on PCs and servers.

The MSFT press conferences usually do not amount to much. Reuters writes that "CSCO CEO John Chambers said he and MSFT CEO Steve Ballmer would visit customers together late yesterday, and that the they would try to clarify how the two companies compete and work together at the same time."

The word "try" is important in that report. "Try" is all either company will get. They are mortal enemies competing for billions of dollars being spent by the same customers. All they want to do is cut each other’s throats.

Douglas A. McIntyre