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Commentary: Amteva, alone again

The spin off of Amteva Technologies makes good sense for Cisco Systems, but Amteva may find life on its own difficult.

By Drew Kraus, Gartner Analyst

The spin off of Amteva Technologies makes good sense for Cisco Systems, but Amteva may find life on its own difficult.

See news story:
Cisco to set Amteva free
Amteva is not the only unified-messaging system that Cisco owns--it also announced the acquisition of Active Voice in November 2000. The two target different markets: Active Voice addresses enterprises, while Amteva aims at service providers. Amteva has very few enterprise customers, gained largely through opportunistic sales, not a strategic effort.

Thus, Cisco has two development streams for unified messaging, which bring together in a single queue messages from various media, including e-mail, voice mail and fax. Cisco likely discovered that combining the two companies' systems would take a great deal of engineering work. It would make better sense to choose one and extend its functions up or down to cover the needs of both enterprises and service providers.

Cisco has chosen to keep Active Voice because the enterprise market has matured enough to bring in significant revenue. The service-provider market has not matured as much. With Active Voice, Cisco can bring in some cash while developing a service-provider plan and also by waiting for that sector to heat up.

Things look rockier for Amteva. It stood on its own before and will likely be able to do so again, but it faces the same market conditions that prompted Cisco's choice and has a big challenge to redevelop its sales channels. Accordingly, Gartner believes that Amteva will be a takeover candidate.

Amteva customers must wonder about their service and support. Much will depend on how much of its support resources Cisco will allow the spun off Amteva to keep. Regardless, Amteva will have to work hard to rebuild a full support organization.

(For related commentary on unified messaging, see registration required.)

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