Cisco promises to open source Telepresence Interoperability Protocol

Cisco completed its Tandberg acquisition today and promised to open and improve Telepresence interoperability

Cisco today announced that it has completed its $3.4 billion acquisition of Tandberg. The Tandberg product line is now part of the Cisco Telepresence family. To celebrate, Cisco promised to open source the protocol that allows third-parties to create add-ons for Telepresence.

The Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP) "provides the underpinning for a scalable multiscreen switched architecture and was released as a method to provide native telepresence interoperability. TIP is currently available under license from Cisco and will be transferred to the International Multimedia Teleconferencing Consortium (IMTC) or another independent industry body to facilitate interoperability," says Cisco.

But Cisco says it will do more than turn over the protocol to a standards body. That's so 1990's. Cisco says it will publish the TIP source code libraries by July 1, 2010, and dubs this the "TIP Open Source project." Cisco didn't mention if it is merely using the words "open source" in a generic way or if it will be releasing the code under an estblished open source license, like the GPL, so that anyone who modifies the code can potentially do so without paying license fees to Cisco. Presumably it will use an open soucre license because as of March 15, the TIP project was registered on SourceForge. (The protocol file itelf was, not surprisingly, not there yet.) The company says that nine videoconferencing and telepresence vendors have licensed TIP so far, so this should be good news to them.

Now that Cisco owns the controlling majority of Tandberg, 91.1%, Cisco has created a subsidiary that will acquire the few shares Cisco doesn't already own in a compulsary acquisition. It will pay NOK 170.00 per share, the same as was accepted in the volunary offer for Tandberg. With ownership of those shares, Tanberg will no longer be traded on the Oslo stock exchange. Apparently, Cisco is still waiting on regularly approval from Brazil, but says Brazil's thumbs up or down doesn't affect Cisco's ability to close the Tandberg acquisition.

Posted by Julie Bort while Jim Duffy is on vacation.

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