Last week, Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) raised an objection to the Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) acquisition of Skype, saying it would hurt video conferencing interoperability — even though, in this space, you could argue Cisco is not the poster child for interoperability. Coincidently, I met with the CEO of LifeSize last Thursday, and he saw this Microsoft acquisition as a huge opportunity. LifeSize is the poster child for video-conferencing interoperability.

So why might Cisco complain a couple of move and spotlight one thing it doesn’t do as a reason why to dam it, while LifeSize may applaud the similar move as it performs smartly with its interoperability advantage? Given that is an election 12 months, there are numerous parallels to politics within the juxtaposition of these companies and this one acquisition.

I’ll close with my product of the week: a driving experience that saved me US$120k.

Politics, Technology and the Truth
It often seems that in an election year, the truth takes a holiday. For instance, the Obama administration is requiring insurance providers of religious organizations to supply birth control pills. This is consistent with the state’s position on nondiscrimination. If you supply a service for one, you have to supply the same service for another, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.

This was once situated by Obama’s opponents as an attack against the Catholic church. It used to ben’t — it was an attack on discrimination. however, it does contain start keep watch over, that is a tradition the Catholic church opposes. You couldn’t precisely come out with a platform saying it’s ok to discriminate in opposition to individuals who work for spiritual companies, so the anti-church message used to be crafted, even if Obama seems to be beautiful religious.

If you look underneath the pro-life vs. pro-choice controversy, it isn’t about babies — it is about control. Who should make life or death decisions regarding a pregnancy is at the core of the dispute: the government and the church, or the individual. But as a right wing party, you can’t very well argue for increased government control of personal decisions, so the platform becomes about life. If it really were about life, there would be more effort to fund and care for children born to parents who don’t want them, but that isn’t even a minor part of the pro-life/pro-choice debate. It’s all about who can make the decision to abort a pregnancy.

The sad thing is, we don’t seem to get this is all about manipulation. Someone — or some group — is tricking a large number of people to agree to a position that they would likely not support, if they fully understood what is at stake (personal freedom). For instance, if the government can make invasive medical decisions in one area, isn’t it likely it will make them in others? At some point, we’ll live in that Big Brother world of 1984.

I’ve clearly become a Ron Paul fan of late.

Video Conferencing
The problem with video conferencing is that it historically doesn’t interoperate. From FaceTime to Cisco Telepresence, one system generally can’t work well with another. There are no common directories, and even if they connect, they typically provide such a crappy experience that the primary vendor can convince you to buy more of its stuff in order to get an adequate experience. It is kind of like TV was when RCA owned everything, except no one company is as powerful as RCA was, so it just means stuff doesn’t work.

The end result’s that businesses like Cisco could have prime-margin systems costing masses of lots of greenbacks — and although there are less expensive alternatives, the ones choices can’t get get right of entry to to the right kind Cisco keep watch over issues to verify as excellent an revel in, so they are able to’t compete, and Cisco continues margins.

This is kind of like what the PC market was before Microsoft, and the server market was before Microsoft Server and Linux. In a Unix world, companies like Sun were king, and everyone paid a huge premium because once locked in, you couldn’t move.

However, if Microsoft does with Skype what it did with Windows, it will establish a common, low-cost, high-definition standard that will commoditize the video conferencing market much as it did with PCs and servers. Suddenly, stuff will work together, and buyers will no longer have to buy the massively expensive and very high-margin, high-end systems. They’ll chase the lowest-cost adequate technology provider.

This gives low-cost providers like LifeSize the potential to grow up to be the next Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) while companies like Cisco collapse and become the next Sun. But Cisco can’t step up and argue it is pro-high margins and against interoperability, so instead it crafts a platform on the evils of Microsoft and comes out in favor of standards.

The reason why Cisco got here to the table past due with its complaints is that it wants Skype crippled; it doesn’t care in regards to the merger so long as Skype can’t become the kind of common product home windows was. using solar as the example, it has each right to be afraid. remember solar went to struggle against Microsoft for far the same reason why — even though Cisco must most likely take a tougher reason why how that turned out.

Wrapping Up
I’m pro-informed choice. I don’t want a vendor or the government in my life making critical choices for me.that iss precise in my non-public in addition to my professional roles. I’m not keen on being given selective data to trick me into making a call that is towards my best pursuits, nor am I a fan of some corrupt or unknowledgeable bureaucrat making decisions for me. i think, and admittedly hope, the general public are like me in this regard. we’d somewhat make our personal alternatives and sooner or later wish the guidelines industry can step as much as the challenge of constructing us all better knowledgeable.

In the end, the reason LifeSize is for the Skype/Microsoft merger and Cisco against it is that the merger should result in the interoperability that Cisco admits is required and the low-cost hardware we consumers and businesses want. LifeSize, being a low-cost provider, becomes another Dell and Cisco another Sun, and that is at the core of this dispute.