Cisco Nips Xobni From Microsoft's Bud

The darling of Microsoft Outlook plug-ins (and of Bill Gates), Xobni's been rumored to be a natural buy for Microsoft. Cisco's got other ideas, as part of a $7m B round investment Xobni announced on Monday. I profiled Xobni (including a recorded Xobni demo and podcast with founder Matt Brezina) when I first discovered it some time ago. Since then, it's been uninstalled from my computer in an attempt to give Outlook as much stability as possible. (There were no hints of Xobni problems; I've just taken to uninstalling every Outlook plug-in on the chance it will help the beast keep running.)

But an Outlook plug-in; Is that anyway to run a business? Xobni thinks so and apparently so does Cisco, provided it points a stick towards Microsoft's eye. Xobni's value isn't just in just mining data within Microsoft Outlook pst files - It's integrating that data with outside social networking site LinkedIn, Facebook, Skype and others. While it still conceptually makes sense for Microsoft to integrate Xobni into Outlook, I suspect Microsoft hasn't done this because Outlook's already too long in the tooth, and needs to be retooled to be streamlined and take better advantage of multi-processor technology. (We don't get those frequent "Not Responding" Outlook window bar messages because the processors or disks are pegged.)

In the meantime, Xobni becomes more attractive to companies like Cisco, and Google I would also suspect. Om Malik puts it this way in his blog post about the investment; "Cisco's investment in Xobni is part of its continuing tussle against Microsoft over the concept of collaboration, as I noted earlier. Cisco last year bought Jabber to compete more effectively with Microsoft, and it had also acquired email startup PostPath for $215 million."

Like this? Here are some of Mitchell's recent posts.

Mitchell's Book Recommendations: Also visit Mitchell's other blogs and podcasts:

Visit Microsoft Subnet for more news, blogs, opinion from around the Web. Sign up for the bi-weekly Microsoft newsletter. (Click on News/Microsoft News Alert.)

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

SD-WAN buyers guide: Key questions to ask vendors (and yourself)