With this aggressive merger, Software.com and Phone.com have moved into the next phase of their growth.
Software.com and Phone.com were each start-ups that became leaders in their markets--large-scale messaging software for email and unified messaging, and enhanced wireless services and voice portals, respectively.
The merged entity will position itself as a major player in a broader, unified communications market. It will sell into the wireless carrier market, as well as the application service provider (ASP) market. Most importantly, the merger will position the new firm as the leader in the emerging market of converged voice-data unified communications.
The merger comes at a good time for Software.com and Phone.com as each company's market looks for enhanced services that the other company can provide. By combining their products, the two vendors can offer more comprehensive offerings. If they did not merge, Software.com and Phone.com would likely have collided. For example, Phone.com recently acquired OneBox, a leading communications ASP for unified messaging services--which is Software.com's niche.
The merged entity will position itself to become the leading U.S. and international maker of unified messaging and communications software for network service providers. The deal also creates a strong provider of unified communications services to the wireless market.
Software.com and Phone.com made a good choice in appointing Don Listwin as president and CEO of the new company. Formerly head of Cisco Systems' service provider and consumer division, Listwin will help to ensure a strong relationship with Cisco, which is an essential partner.
Cisco also presents a major challenge. Cisco already has a unified communications set of software, based on the acquisition of Amteva Technologies. Facing Cisco as a competitor would make a difficult market even more difficult. Like the unified messaging market, the unified communications market has proven a tough one to define and for which to create successful products.
(For related commentary on how wireless and high-speed technology will change the office, see TechRepublic.com--free registration required.)
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