An anonymous reader writes: It seems obvious that Cisco's appeal to the EU isn’t a pure crusade for interoperability and standard protocols. The following suggests it’s the coupling of Microsoft Lync and Skype that scares Cisco:
“Microsoft’s plans to integrate Skype exclusively with its Lync Enterprise Communications Platform could lock-in businesses who want to reach Skype’s 700 million account holders to a Microsoft-only platform,” said Marthin De Beer, Cisco SVP, Emerging Business Group, in a Cisco blog on February 15th.
Now, the use case outlined by Cisco here is: Skype user video calls corporation running on Lync... Or in other words, Grandma video calls her insurance company regarding a claim. Or, my friend Susan video calls a big online clothing company to exchange a shirt. Is this what Cisco envisions as right around the corner?
While, admittedly, the Jetsons-like experience of video-calling companies is neat and maybe even foreseeable, I see an immediate concern with the Skype-Lync pairing discussed above. As mentioned, Skype is a P2P service, having implicit security issues, despite its encrypting each user session (e.g. chewing up uncontrollable amounts of bandwidth, third party call interception, call initiation monitoring by third parties...) Would a large company choose to communicate with customers about transactions, personal data, etc, via such an insecure platform?
While Skype’s not a good fit for large company-customer communication, Lync is too expensive for small businesses. Additionally, I would argue the market demand for video calling between company and customer is equal, if not higher, for smaller businesses. Personally, I’d like to consult with medical professionals, lawyers, realtors, accountants, florists, veterinarians, interior designer, and more via a video call. However, these businesses aren’t corporations ready to shell out thousands for a Lync deployment. Think small businesses are a small matter? About 50% of people in the U.S. are employed by businesses with 500 employees (U.S. Census Bureau 2008).
In conclusion, although I 100% agree with Cisco’s sentiment, promoting interoperability and open standards, I don’t think government intervention will be necessary to help consumers. Consumers will help themselves and make their decisions based on need and cost.