Cisco buys another social-networking firm

Cisco has acquired Tribe.net developer Utah Street Networks, its second social-networking acquisition this year

Cisco Systems is continuing to buy its way into social networking, acquiring some assets of the company that operates Tribe.net while letting the site remain independent.

Cisco announced Monday it has bought selected assets of Utah Street Networks, a seven-person San Francisco company founded in 2003. It did not acquire Tribe.net, a social-networking site that has been overshadowed by the success of big names such as Friendster, Facebook and News Corp.'s MySpace. Cisco did not reveal the terms of the deal, which has already been completed, in a statement Monday.

With the purchase, Cisco gets a proprietary software infrastructure that Utah Street has used to create and maintain online communities on Tribe.net. The dominant networking vendor will integrate that software into its Cisco Media Solutions Group (CMSG), and certain Utah Street employees will join that team to continue software development, according to Cisco.

Cisco started moving into content infrastructure last year with the formation of the CMSG, which made its first acquisition last month when it bought social-networking software company Five Across. On Monday, Cisco announced that acquisition had been completed.

The San Jose, California, company sees social networking as a key part of the way media companies and other enterprises will approach their customers. On Tribe.net, users can set up personal profiles, join interest groups, post blog entries and pictures, and review local businesses, among other things. Versions of the site exist for dozens of U.S. cities.

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Stephen Lawson

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