What Does Cisco Need Social Networking for?

Cisco Systems has made a couple weird acquisitions lately, they had purchased FiveAcross, a social networking provider, and now they are buying a “failed” social network, Tribe.net, who was once being considered for purchase by NBC. Everyone’s reaction seems to be, WTF, what were they thinking. Now, I am not sure what they are planning on doing with it, but as big and as powerful as Cisco is and has been, why couldn’t they pull something off with it? Sure, they don’t have the type of crowd you would expect to be able to pull into a social network, but, they could create some private ones specifically for businesses, or education systems or even free ones for everyone to use, I don’t think it would matter who is pushing it as long as it is good, usable and appeals to the people they are trying to attract to it.

Pete Cashmore from Mashable says,

The NYTimes calls the match up of a networking company and a dead community site a ?curious pairing?, which is understating it a little. We thought it slightly odd when Cisco bought up a white label social networking provider. But with a bit of explanation it made sense. Cisco wanted to provide the technology to its corporate clients – and more Internet traffic means more traffic over Cisco?s routers, as VentureBeat eloquently explained. Source: WTF is Cisco Doing?

Om Malik from Gigaom says,

News flash for Cisco: This social software thing ? it is too marginal, doesn?t make money and can?t make you cool. Stick to what you know best – plumbing hardware ?sell tons of it, make money, and learn to live with the fact that you are rich and old school.

Don?t make me bring up pesky issues like: that in last ten months the only optical contract you have announced was an agreement with National Lambda Rail, and we can?t take that seriously, because as NLR annual report notes: the equipment was ?provided under very favorable pricing by NLR?s founding member, Cisco Systems.? Source: Cisco?s wrong bet on Social Networks

Marc Anderseen, one of the original browsers, Mosaic Netscape, says, ?The idea that Cisco is going to be a force in social networking is about as plausible as Ning being a force in optical switches,? but what does he know about optical switches, when Cisco purchases something, it usually includes their employees, and makes them part of their hive. I say, lets see what they do and what happens before we say they are crazy.

Wait, I could prove myself somewhat right before I finish writing this, Techcrunch is reporting on this also, and maybe with a little more insider information.

But now the New York Times is reporting that the assets of the eight person company have been acquired by Cisco. This follows their acquisition of Five Across, a social networking infrastructure service, two weeks ago. The hope is to use the two company?s technology to help Cisco?s corporate clients build their own social networks, so it isn?t clear whether or not the Tribe service itself will live on.

The demand is clearly there, as seen by Reuters? announcement today that they?re looking to build their own Myspace clone, for financial types. Everyone, it seems, wants their very own social network these days. Source: Tribe Gets Acquired, For Real This Time

I love it when I am semi right. ;)