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Microsoft's Ballmer Seeks "Respectful Competition" with Cisco

Discussion Panel in New York Casts New Light on Industry Rivalry

As part of an apparent joint aim to reassure consumers that, if they use Microsoft's software, it will continue to work with Cisco's networking products, and vice versa, the CEOs of both companies spoke at a press event in New York this week about how, while competing as vigorously as ever, Microsoft and Cisco will also be working together in ten areas where their technologies overlap.

"There are plenty of competitors that you just don't talk to, or things get acrimonious," Ballmer said, as the two spoke on a discussion panel together on Monday. "That's not where we want to go with Cisco," he added, saying that Microsoft was seeking "respectful competition" with Cisco.

Setting the whole announcement in context, Cisco CEO John Chambers spoke during a BusinessWeek interview of "the second productivity wave of the Internet," adding:

"It will be any device, any content. You're going to operate in whatever format you're most comfortable. It is going to require industry leaders working together where appropriate."
Gazing into his industry crystal ball, Ballmer noted how much Microsoft and Cisco's goals meshed:
"There's more overlap on our product line than ever before. Let's face it, you're probably talking to the two greatest pretenders to replace today's PBX infrastructure with Voice over IP-type infrastructure."
Chambers had the final word:
"It is so important to be crisp on your road map of where you're going to work together, and where you're going to compete; to be crisp on your interoperability and what you're going to do and not do. That's a model no one has mastered. Now, if we master it well, our customers win and I think we could win big-time. We do not underestimate the degree of difficulty with it."

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.NETDJ News Desk monitors Microsoft .NET and its related technologies, including Silverlight, to present IT professionals with news, updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards, and insight.

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