Cisco kills WebEx Social and goes with Jive

people talking on a web video conference
Credit: SashiBellamkonda

Users will be able to launch a WebEx video conference from within Jive

Cisco is calling it quits on its homegrown WebEx Social service, instead opting to integrate Jive's social and collaboration platform into WebEx.

The result, already in use at Thomson Reuters, means that workers will be able to invite people to join and then launch a WebEx meeting from within Jive. Users will also be able to start a Jabber chat with individuals or groups from within Jive.

The arrangement is a big win for Jive. Cisco will resell Jive and the companies will work together on further integration, they said in a press release this morning.

While Jive is a big name in social and collaboration in the enterprise, there are signs that it might be struggling a bit. Last year, Jive added 76 customers compared to 133 in the previous year. 

That lackluster performance may be one reason why Jive has been shopping for a buyer, at least according to a Re/code story last month citing unnamed sources. The story said that SAP, Oracle, and Workday had all been approached but weren't interested.

The arrangement with Cisco isn't an outright sale but has the potential to get Jive back on track, given the reach of Cisco's sales team.

It's also just the kind of partnership that could help Jive compete against enterprise technology giants like IBM and Microsoft, which are increasingly building social features into their products. Commenting on the rumors of a Jive sale last month, Rob Koplowitz, an analyst at Forrester, suggested that integrating with other vendors might help Jive stay competitive. 

Jive replaces WebEx Social, Cisco's home grown social networking platform. Cisco said it plans to stop selling WebEx Social starting today. "As the market for enterprise social software continues to develop, we’re seeing the market consolidate around key vendors. To provide the best flexibility and outcomes for our customers, we’re expanding our focus to work with these vendors’ products and to provide native integration with products in our collaboration portfolio," Peder Ulander, vice president of collaboration marketing at Cisco, explained in a blog post.

Cisco said it has already told customers and partners about its plans to discontinue WebEx Social. It will continue to support the cloud service until June 30, 2016, and the on-premise server version until June 30, 2017. 

The Jive partnership isn't the first recent push into social at Cisco. Late last year, Cisco bought Collaborate.com. At the time, it said the plan was to let users launch WebEx meetings from within Collaborate, an integration that sounds similar to that with Jive.

However, Cisco's Ulander said the Collaborate team is focused on mobile. "The guys at Collaborate are amazing mobile and cloud developers and that is one of the primary reasons for bringing them into the Cisco family," he said. Their influence is already apparent in Cisco's latest mobile clients in the app stores, he said.  

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