Cisco Kills WebEx Social, Strikes Up Partnership With Jive

Cisco Thursday said it's killing off its WebEx Social unified communications platform and replacing it with software from fellow collaboration vendor Jive.

"As the market for enterprise social software continues to develop, we're seeing the market consolidate around key vendors," wrote Peder Ulander, vice president, Collaboration Solutions marketing at Cisco, in a blog post Thursday. "To provide the best flexibility and outcomes for our customers, we're expanding our focus to work with these vendors' products and to provide native integration with products in our collaboration portfolio."

Moving forward, Cisco said it will integrate Jive's software -- a blend of collaboration and enterprise-focused social networking tools -- with Cisco Jabber and Cisco's cloud-based meeting service WebEx, which is not being discontinued.

[Related: Collaboration Commitment? Cisco SMB Partners Not Feeling The Love ]

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WebEx Social, launched in 2010 as Cisco Quad and rebranded in 2012, is a software platform that, much like Jive, combines various UC functions with social networking features, including video, blogs, virtual communities and the ability for users to create online profiles.

According to an end-of-life notice issued by Cisco, the company will continue to support the cloud-based version of WebEx Social until June 30, 2016, and the on-premise version until June 30, 2017. In his blog post, Ulander said Cisco's services arm will be offering migration services to help existing customers move from WebEx Social to Jive.

Dropping the ax on WebEx Social is one of several shake-ups Cisco has made recently to its collaboration business, which was down 7 percent year-over-year in the San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant's most recent fiscal quarter. In March, Cisco staged a major refresh of its collaboration line, introducing new TelePresence MX endpoints, the plug-and-play TelePresence SX10 Quick Set and a scaled-out version of its Business Edition (BE) 7000.

Meanwhile, Cisco in January halted sales of its SMB-focused Unified Communications 500 and Business Edition 3000 collaboration platforms, in a move that made many Cisco collaboration partners question the company's commitment to SMB.

Tim Savage, principal and managing director at ENS Group, a Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Cisco partner, said ENS never did any business around Cisco's WebEx Social, but said his Cisco collaboration business overall is "picking up for sure" after a slow last quarter.

"Business Edition 6000 has always been our mainstay and continues to be," Savage wrote in an email to CRN. "The Video Expressway licensing is also starting to garner a lot of interest from the installed base."

Through the new partnership with Jive, Cisco said both itself and its partners will be reselling Jive software as an integrated part of its collaboration portfolio. The two companies also will team up on product engineering moving forward.

"Cisco is one of the most well-respected companies on the planet, with hundreds of thousands of companies leveraging their realtime communication and collaboration offerings," said Tony Zingale, CEO and chairman of Jive, in a statement. "Together, we can bring Jive's industry-leading collaboration platform to these customers, and help drive even deeper and more productive business outcomes across their employees, customers and partners."