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Cisco buys TANDBERG – Polycom next?

Yesterday, Cisco announced it bought Tandberg for $3 billion.  The deal effectively gives Cisco a video sales pipe into the enterprise boardroom. Speculation today is that Polycom might be next on the shopping list.

It’s an interesting premise, since purchasing Polycom would give Cisco an effective lock on the videoconferencing/telepresence market AND add some sizzle to Cisco’s enterprise desktop phone line.   As of Friday morning trading, Polycom’s market cap is around $2.1 billion, so if you were to pay a 2x premium, that’s be a top end cap of $4.2 billion — pocket change for Cisco’s warchest.

But I don’t see it happening today, or tomorrow.  Cisco needs to assimilate Tandberg first and, judging from the *ahem* way Linksys fits so neatly in with Cisco,  the process is likely to take a while.   If someone at the Department of Justice is awake, there also might be some anti-trust implications — Cisco suddenly grabbing up a large chunk of the IP phone market.  It would likely make people uncomfortable.

Others are trying to spin the purchase of TANDBERG as a Good Thing for other nimble telepresence players in the market since it will take a while for Cisco to assimilate TANDBERG and the whole process may slow TANDBERG down in the marketplace.   Not sure if I’m hip with this interpretation, since Cisco has a big marketing force, a big marketing presence, and is probably cutting a deal to do some product positioning for TANDBERG gear on “NCIS” or some other hot TV show.

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