News & Events

Cisco’s acquisition of Accompany may challenge Microsoft’s LinkedIn

  • 16 May, 2018

Article, Cisco, News, Unified Collaboration

A writer at Seeking Alpha, Virginia Backaitis, recently published an interesting article hypothesising a potential strategy from Cisco that could really shake up the world of Microsoft and business social media. Cisco recently aquired Accompany for $270 million, a consumer-like business app that utilises AI and machine learning to construct databases rich with information regarding high-level professionals. All you have to do is enter a specific persons name and Accompany will sift its way through news, networks and company filings to build an in-depth profile which will be delivered to your inbox.

Backaitis’ theory is that Cisco have made this acquisition in order to challenge Microsoft’s LinkedIn platform and increase their market share in the collaboration market which is expected to value $59.86bn by 2023 (Markets and Markets). She gives some interesting and valid reasons behind her opinion which I will summarise in this article.

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Cisco’s switch to software and subscription model

One of Cisco’s current strategies is to transition from a hardware company into a multi-faceted software and subscription company to better align themselves with the future of technology. They have made successful strides in pursuit of this goal with their collaboration platforms, WebEx and WebEx Teams (formally Cisco Spark), along with many other ventures.

Therefore, an attempt to move into a subscription from of business oriented social media would not seem out of the ordinary. After all, Cisco already lead the collaboration market in several different areas – Unified Communications, Web Conferencing, and Contact Centre Infrastructure.

Existing competition between Cisco and Microsoft

In the collaboration market, Cisco’s closest competitor is Microsoft. They have several products which directly compete with eachother; Cisco’s WebEx with Microsoft’s Skype for Business, Cisco’s WebEx Board with Microsoft’s Surface Hub, and WebEx Teams with Microsoft Teams.

It’s clear that Cisco and Microsoft are not shy of some friendly competition with each other. That’s why Backaitis believes that the acquisition of Accompany may lead to a strategy where Cisco attempt to challenge Microsoft’s LinkedIn as LinkedIn currently does not have any major competitors in the niche of social media where they are positioned.

Option to add a social function to Accompany

It’s well known that Cisco are an extremely large organisation with great capabilities to invest substantial capital into new ventures. This is why Backaitis theorises that it is well within Cisco’s reach to develop Accompany into a fully-fledged platform with various new features, a social component for curation, and funding to broaden its reach. If this happens then there’s no reason why Accompany couldn’t rival LinkedIn.

If Cisco decided to integrate it somehow with WebEx Teams it could be a very successful strategy.


As Backaitis says at the end of her article, all of these ideas are purely speculation and Cisco are yet to elaborate on their specific strategy. However if they do have a strategy in place which is similar to her estimations, there are huge possibilities on the horizon because of the rapidly growing collaboration market and the CRM market.