Customer demand is driving Cisco to prevent a clash with Microsoft, but the networking giant seems uncertain about whether the firms can avoid a confrontation.
Cisco chief executive John Chambers said in a meeting with reporters at the Cisco Networkers user conference in Anaheim, California: "My customers want me to work with Microsoft. They do not want to see us collide in a non-constructive way."
But in admitting that it will be hard to prevent a market clash as both companies are expanding into each other's turf, Chambers pointed out that companies often have a poor track record in combined cooperation and competition.
"We will see if we can create a model that truly allows us to compete at times and partner at times, but nobody has ever done that well. It's called 'co-opetition'. But candidly, you do it only because your customers force you to," said Chambers.
Microsoft is currently pushing into the unified communications market, where Cisco has been playing for a long time with its IP telephones.
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