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Cisco buys into corporate IM

Cisco Systems is buying Jabber, an open-source corporate instant-messaging platform, to compete more aggressively in unified communications.

Cisco Systems is bolstering its unified communications and collaboration portfolio with the purchase of a corporate instant-messaging company.

On Friday, the networking giant announced it will purchase Jabber, which uses an open-source IM and presence protocol used by Google Talk and Gizmo. The company didn't disclose financial details.

In essence, Jabber's technology allows multiple IM platforms to "talk" to each other. This means that it allows people using tools such as Microsoft Office Communications Server, IBM Sametime, AOL AIM, and Google to send messages to each and get presence information about one another.

Jabber's technology is already used by some large companies including AT&T, BT, EarthLink, FedEx, and JP Morgan.

The deal will help Cisco compete even more aggressively against Microsoft in the unified communications market. And it will fit nicely with some of Cisco's previous acquisitions including the purchase of Web conferencing company WebEx.

Cisco expects to close the deal in the first half of 2009. Jabber's 50 employees will join Cisco's Collaboration Software Group.