WebEx customers: Cisco buy could spur innovation

WebEx customers highlight the pros of the Cisco buyout

Three executives who use WebEx's online collaboration services say the financial backing of Cisco, which is set to acquire the company for US$3.2 billion, may help WebEx expand an already impressive product line that includes Web conferencing and remote access technologies.

"I think that large companies can have the funding for more research and development and will help them tighten up their systems even better," says Edgar Blazona, owner and CEO of furniture company TrueModern in Berkeley, California. "I assume having that kind of backing will give them an opportunity to expand their product line."

Blazona uses both Web conferencing services from WebEx and PCNow, a WebEx product that provides remote access to PCs through other computers and mobile devices.

Sometimes, a company can be too big, WebEx customer David Farmer said Thursday after hearing of the Cisco purchase. But in this case, Farmer says being owned by Cisco could help WebEx innovate and expand internationally.

"Cisco is such a reputable brand itself, they probably will be able to put the pedal down," says Farmer, founder and CEO of Ad Giants, a Dallas company that makes a marketing process management system and also has a partnership with WebEx. "I was just talking to [WebEx executives] yesterday, in fact, about how they're really growing in China and the Pacific realm. I think this could be great for them."

Mark Lynd, president of FireScope in Los Angeles, says the acquisition opens up the possibility of connecting Cisco's VOIP offerings to WebEx's Web conferencing.

"If I was Cisco I'd take the video they already support and their VOIP technology, tie it into WebEx, and bam, you have an unbelievable suite optimized for your organization," Lynd says. FireScope, which uses WebEx and another online meeting service called GoToMeeting, is a start-up that makes a security information management product.

Lynd calls the acquisition a "tremendous opportunity" for Cisco. "This would be a great extension of the suite," he says.

WebEx's primary competitor is Microsoft's LiveMeeting collaboration service.

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