Microsoft Could Soon Topple Cisco in the Collaboration Market, Cloud is Key

Microsoft vs. Cisco in the collaboration market

Microsoft has been on roll in the office collaboration market, thanks to the company’s focus on trying to build everything it can to address the needs of enterprises – from infrastructure to software. According to data from Synergy Research Group, Microsoft had a 12.5% market share in the office collaboration market during the fourth quarter of 2016, 2.5 points behind the segment leader, Cisco.

Source: Synergy Research Group

But head to head, Microsoft and Cisco, operate in different segments within the office collaboration market, with only some products competing in the same space. Cisco is more of a hardware player, while Microsoft is more of a software specialist. But the battle lines are getting thinner as both companies slowly try and encroach on each other’s turf.

A good example is Cisco’s Webex, a conferencing solution that competes with Skype for Business. The competition is so high in this sub-segment of office collaboration that Microsoft has a webpage comparing Cisco and Skype for Business.

The collaboration market witnessed significant growth in 2016, crossing the $9 billion mark and very close to the all-time growth high, according to Synergy. As the market witnessed this growth, both Cisco and Microsoft saw sequential market share growth during the fourth quarter, a clear indication that there is good momentum behind both companies.

“Collaboration continues to be a somewhat fragmented market that is characterized by a long list of disruptive and high-growth companies, with no less than 15 companies achieving full-year growth rates in excess of 20%,” said Jeremy Duke, Synergy Research Group’s founder and Chief Analyst.

With the progress that Microsoft is making in 2017 on the enterprise client acquisition front on the strength of its cloud-delivered Office 365 solutions, it’s shaping up to be a tough fight for the top spot. Cisco’s lead in premise-based solutions could well be overtaken by Microsoft’s cloud-based equivalents, and there’s practically nobody stopping the Windows maker from growing at impressive rates for the next several years.

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