A first: Microsoft pulls in more from enterprise collaboration than Cisco

Microsoft has overcome Cisco’s lead in enterprise collaboration sales in the first quarter of 2014, taking in a slightly higher percentage of sales for the first time, according to Synergy Research Group.

Cisco was hurt by softness in voice and telepresence sales that affected other vendors as well, says Jeremy Duke, chief analyst for Synergy. “On the other hand, Microsoft has only a small presence in enterprise voice and is not active in telepresence,” he says, “but is growing its share of the UC applications segment, holding its own in email software and growing strongly in the nascent enterprise social networks segment. Microsoft has been steadily increasing its influence in collaboration markets over the last five years.”

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Cisco started the quarter about two percentage points ahead but by the end Microsoft had edged it out at 21.3% to Cisco’s 20.8%. Synergy has been collecting collaboration data for 15 years.

Enterprise collaboration represents a mix of technologies - enterprise voice, unified communications applications, telepresence, email software, collaborative workspace software and enterprise social networks - and the companies fared better and worse in different categories, Duke says. In addition, total enterprise collaboration sales were down 1% from the same quarter last year, mainly because lower voice and telepresence sales overwhelmed growth in other areas.

Some of those technologies didn’t exist when Synergy started tracking collaboration, but as new ones came along, the research firm expanded its criteria.

Microsoft was helped by the fact that the strongest growth segment was enterprise social networks, up 34% over last year, Duke says. Microsoft is growing strongly in that area with its proliferation of Yammer.


Unified communications applications, voice and email made up 78% of the market in the quarter. Microsoft is holding its own in email, but growing its share of the voice and unified communications markets, Synergy says.

The largest three segments are enterprise voice, email software and UC applications, which in aggregate account for 78% of the Q1 market. The highest-growth segment is enterprise social networks, which experienced year-on-year growth of 34%.

The shares determined by the study were based on total sales of $5.4 billion for the quarter.

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