New York (NY) - Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer and Cisco's Chairman and CEO John Chambers today spoke at length about collaboration, teamwork and current and future technology directions during a webcast. It was an interesting mix, kind of a competitive love-fest for the future. One that promises new products and possibilities.
Chambers said that Cisco will be offering hardware/software collaboration to make their equipment and customers work with Microsoft's more easily. Microsoft's software efforts will do the same in reverse, according to Ballmer. In this way, the companies will target cross-customer marketing efforts designed to bolster both companies.
Security was also a big issue and some interesting new tools were demonstrated. For example, these will allow a computer that is connecting to a network to query that network's established security policy. If the connecting computer is not up to snuff, it automatically downloads and/or configures itself to whatever is required to become a secure asset on the network. It could be easy to visualize this new ability as a type of DRM for security. You either adhere to the policy, or you're out of luck.
Internet communication was also forefront and key to everything, and that is not just for certain applications as it is today. Both Microsoft and Cisco see the Internet as absolutely essential in every possible way to all future technologies, not to mention local networking. Sharing, distributing, being in touch and never being offline, these were all central themes in all technology directions being discussed today.
In the end, we were left with one basic idea: Collaboration. Microsoft and Cisco have realized that in order to compete against powerful challengers like a growing, free Linux base and other open-source endeavors, the value they offer must be more than is seen today. Both companies view their efforts toward these ends as being keys to not only their success, but also their customer's success.