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What did Cisco buy? A look at its '06 acquisitions

What did Cisco buy? A look at its '06 acquisitions

Cisco's moves in 2006 showed the vendor's urgency to find new markets for expansion

Audium

Acquisition announced:June 8
Headquarters:New York City
Founded:1999
Employees:26
Acquisition cost:US$19.8 million in cash
Market:VoIP

Cisco bought this developer of VoiceXML applications to strengthen its call-centre software offerings. Before the buyout, Audium's software was already used as an add-on feature for Cisco's Customer Voice Portal software -- a self-service call centre application, which allows phone callers to retrieve data through voice recognition technology.

Cisco says the Audium software will enable customers to more easily build systems that can access database information through automated voice-response -- an interface, which in the past was difficult to build due to the proprietary nature of voice-response technology and the customized code required to tie voice systems to backend software.

Cisco loves VoiceXML so much, the company made it a feature in its most recent IOS software release, allowing Cisco routers to more easily interpret and handle VoiceXML messages.

Metreos

Acquisition announced:June 8
Headquarters:Austin, Texas
Founded:2001
Employees:19
Acquisition cost:US$28 million
Market:VoIP

Metreos, also a Cisco partner when it was acquired, was a maker of software for integrating business software systems with Cisco's Unified Communications products -- the vendor's enterprise VoIP transport and applications products, such as CallManager and Unity. Cisco announced plans to purchase Metreos as a separate deal on the same day it announced the Audium buy. The purchases of both Metreos and Audium were more of a move to secure these technologies in Cisco's portfolio, rather than an entry into a brand new market, as with the SyPixx acquisition, analysts said. (Cisco picking up smaller technology partners is another trend that continued through 2006).

"Both Audium and Metreos products are already tightly integrated with Cisco's offerings," wrote Steve Cramoysan, an analyst with Gartner, in a report on the two deals. "Technically, the acquisitions don't signal a big change. However, by preventing another vendor from acquiring the tools, the acquisitions reduce the risk for Cisco's channels, independent software vendors and Cisco customers building applications with the tools."


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