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Cisco buys communications software developer tools

Company to pay $47.8 million for two start-ups that will help third-party partners link business apps with IP communications.

Cisco Systems plans to announce Friday that it's spending $47.8 million in cash to acquire two start-ups whose technology will help large companies merge their business software applications with their IP communications platforms.

Cisco said it will pay $28 million in cash for privately held Metreos, an Austin, Texas-based company with 19 employees. It will dish out another $19.8 million in cash for a 26-person company called Audium based in New York City.

Software developed by Metreos and Audium will be used by Cisco's third-party technology partners, systems integrators, value-added resellers and customers to build and deliver applications on Cisco's Unified Communications System, a suite of voice, data and video products and applications that integrate communications with IT infrastructure.

"The technology from these companies act as middleware linking the business applications with communications so their business processes can be connected to actual people," said Zoltan Poleretzky, director of business development for Cisco's Unified Communications products. "The great thing about these tools is that no one has to be a Java developer to do it."

For example, a company's enterprise resource planning software could be linked to its unified communications infrastructure so that if an issue comes up in its supply chain it can notify all the appropriate people simultaneously and immediately.

When the deals close, Metreos and Audium products groups will be integrated into Cisco's Voice Technology Group, reporting to Don Proctor, senior vice president of Cisco's Voice Technology Group. The acquisitions are expected to close by the end of June.

Cisco has already been working separately with each company. It has resold Audium's product for more than a year, and Metrios is already a member of Cisco's developer program.