elephants dancing (Cisco, Tandberg, Skype, Asterisk, LifeSize, …)

Recent months have brought much promise about elephants dancing well with others, i.e., video calling interoperability with Cisco Telepresence and with Skype. So far, no signs that Cisco and Skype will dance with each other, but even that is conceivable now.

Along with the promise have been ambiguity, questions and controversy. This is a brief recap while still waiting for some of the partners to make their moves.

For example, when Cisco announced plans to purchase Tandberg, the largest of the companies committed to ITU-T and SIP interoperability, would Cisco become part of the interoperable crowd, or would Tandberg become less interoperable? It seemed inevitable that interoperability would prevail, but until it happened, who could be sure? Then the real controversy emerged: enough Tandberg shareholders want a higher bid from Cisco that the deal may not happen. A November 9 deadline has been extended to November 18.

The long anticipated sale of Skype by eBay was announced in September in the midst of controversy over intellectual property, and prior announcements of Asterisk interoperability and SIP interoperability. Naysayers widely predicted the demise of Skype. Others, notably LifeSize, joined the dance. With Friday’s announcements resolving the ominous litigation, Skype’s forward momentum seems impressive. Skype hiring of SIP pioneer Jonathan Rosenberg bodes very well for future Skype interoperability.

Assuming Skype overcomes current lack of multi-point video calling, Skype should be able to win a few dance contests.

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