Cisco making a play for Skype?

The acquisition would be key to Cisco's thrust into the unified communications and collaboration, and consumer markets

Cisco is reportedly looking to buy Skype before the Internet phone provider goes public.

The blog TechCrunch posted over the weekend that Cisco made an offer for Skype before it completed its IPO process. The site attributed the unconfirmed information to "reliable sources."

It would be a multibillion purchase as Skype is looking to raise $5 billion in its initial offer, according to TechCrunch.Cisco declined to comment. Skype was not immediately available for comment.

The acquisition would be key to Cisco's thrust into the unified communications and collaboration, and consumer markets. It would bring to the company what is now a free and consumer friendly voice and video capability to augment the IP telephony and unified communications systems it now provides to corporate enterprises. Integrated with a device such as the Flip pocket videocamera -- which would need an Internet access connection like the expected Wi-Fi capability -- Cisco could offer a handheld voice/data/video device for the consumer and perhaps enterprise market.

The blog states Google also may be interested in Skype but could be precluded from making an offer for the company due to antitrust concerns. Google recently announced its intention to add voice capabilities to its Gmail service.

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Tags business issuesInternet-based applications and servicesapplicationsGoogleCisco eyes Skypeacquisitionscollaborationinternetmergerscorporate issues

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Jim Duffy

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