Teams and Webex: What if Microsoft and Cisco merged their platforms?

Disclosure:  The companies mentioned are clients of the author.

When Cisco had its big Webex unveiling last week, I was impressed. This week, Microsoft Ignite is under way, and Microsoft is treating collaboration like it once treated .Net. As I write, Cisco is at the event, talking about how the two companies are collaborating on development tools and collaboration’s significant impact on Cisco customers using Azure and App Dynamics.  

Microsoft and Cisco aren’t natural competitors and have partnered in the past with Unified Communications. That got me thinking: what if they collaborated on the future of communications? What if they worked together and either blended Teams and Webex or shared technology to a degree that both products could be equally enhanced and interoperated more seamlessly with the other? 

Teams vs. Webex

The core differentiators Microsoft is showcasing this week with Teams include things like deep application integration across their development and productivity tools and the use of avatars and holograms. Last week with Webex, Cisco exhibited its deep integration with telephony, the use of employee monitoring while preserving privacy (for management), and the use of holograms. (Both products use Hololens.)

So which one should you choose? You’d pick Teams if you’re wedded to Microsoft’s toolset, and you’d use Webex if you wanted to integrate your communications methods (phone + video conferencing) and if you needed to assure your remote employees aren’t at risk. Your choice is between maximizing your productivity process or maximizing your employee effectiveness. And your new problem is that the “or” doesn’t make sense — I can’t think of a business that doesn’t want to do both. 

You could use Teams specifically for IT and software development (if you do software development), and you’d use Webex for staff meetings. Depending on the nature of collaboration needed, you could use either to connect the customer, vendor, or partner — Teams for software, Webex for everything else. 

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