Top 6 Cisco acquisitions of 2007

And what it should buy in 2008

Cisco made 11 acquisitions this year culminating in 126 purchases since Cisco's birth. It made three more acquisitions than it did last year, when it spent a measly US$256 million buying ho-hum technologies. This year was different, not only in the sheer dollar size of some acquisitions, but also because of the breadth of technologies it acquired. From social networks to broadband wireless, we take a look at what Cisco Subnet has named Cisco's top-six acquisitions of 2007. We also look at what Cisco should have bought and what Cisco may be looking to buy in 2008.

No. 6: Securent gives Cisco street cred

Jon Oltsik, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, writing in Cnet, says Securent, which Cisco acquired for US$100 million, gives Cisco application-layer street cred. Oltsik explains that the Securent deal, which closed late November, could be good for Cisco because it provides a set of role-based rules that enforce authorization policies across multiple heterogeneous applications on the back end.

Securent is privately held and based in California. The company's distributed policy platform lets enterprises administer, enforce, and audit access to data, communications, and applications in heterogeneous IT application environments. Securent's software will enable Cisco customers to protect application data regardless of vendor, platform, or operating system while still allowing access to content that workers need.

No. 5: Latigent, a maker of call center reporting tools

Cisco boosted its call center offering by buying up Latigent, a vendor of call center reporting tools. Cisco plans to integrate Latigent's products with its unified customer contact center systems. The integrated products will help businesses better manage voice, Web, e-mail and video interactions with their customers, Cisco said when the purchase was announced. The company declined to reveal the terms of the deal.

One of the interesting aspects of the deal was a blog post by Jason Kolb Latigent CTO, giving insight into what it's like to be acquired by Cisco (see here).

No. 4: IronPort helps to breathe life into Cisco's Self Defending Network

Eric Ogren, a security analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group gave Cisco's US$830 million acquisition in January of IronPort the thumbs up, saying that "IronPort positions Cisco to finally implement intelligence that can breathe life into its 'Self Defending Network.'" But even with the inclusion of IronPort, there are still some holes in SDN - and in particular, IronPort's data-leakage capabilities, which appear to be missing, as Network World's Jim Duffy reported back in September.

At the time of the acquisition announcement, pundits were also unclear as to what Cisco might do with IronPort's core antispam and Web-filtering technologies beyond continuing to market existing IronPort appliances without disruptions. Also, Cisco and Trend Micro in August extended their three-year-old collaboration to now include Trend Micro's content security features into Cisco routers. Observers wondered where in the picture is the content security of IronPort.

No. 3: Navini Networks puts Cisco in the WiMAX

Cisco in October bought itself into the WiMAX business with its US$330 million purchase of Navini Networks. After weeks of speculation over which WiMAX base station vendor Cisco would buy, came news that Cisco would pocket Navini Networks for US$330 million.

The company offers Cisco an instant product line of both WiMAX base stations (for both fixed and mobile wireless) as well as client radios. Navini has about 70 customers worldwide, though many of them have deployed the company's initial run of "pre-WiMAX" radio products.

But will Cisco be able to repeat with WiMAX the success it reaped in the Wi-Fi WLAN market after acquiring (for a whopping US$450 million) wireless switch vendor Airespace?

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Linda Leung

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