Cisco Launches Email SaaS, Cisco WebEx Mail

Today, November 9, Cisco is launching its email SaaS, Cisco WebEx Mail. This is important. The offering has a reasonable chance at giving Microsoft substantial competition in the messaging and collaboration space. In short:

  • Can use Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007, or Outlook 2010 as rich client
  • Cisco-provided web browser client also available
  • Outlook compatibility is extremely high due to reverse engineering of MAP. Eg includes notes, tasks, group scheduling etc. No plugin required
  • Has large mailbox: 5GB and 25GB
  • Based on PostPath acquisition
  • Good anti-spam and anti-virus included (result of IronPort acquisition)
  • Support for ActiveSync, Blackberry

Plans are underway to provide a rich, and innovative, integrated suite of collaborative applications. These encompass:

  • IM, voice, presence, online meetings, team workspace, social and work directory, social networking, news, blogs
  • Web client, Inbox-centric architecture
  • Prototypes are in place today; overall vision is evolving

Pricing was not revealed to us and will be announced today. However, note that Exchange Online is now $5/seat/month, and Google Apps either free or a little over $4/seat/month for the Premier Edition.

Currently, Microsoft Exchange dominates corporate email. This needs stiff competition, for the good of everyone. Google Apps may become stiff competition. The market share of on-premises Notes/Domino is gradually shrinking, and the SaaS offerings from IBM/Lotus are not yet strong enough to give Microsoft any grief. We are thus excited by the launch of Cisco WebEx Mail. It has real potential to give Microsoft a hard time. We hope it does: competition is good for all of us.

David Ferris

One Comment

  1. Art Rosenberg
    Posted November 9, 2009 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    David,

    Not surprised that communication convergence (UC), hosted software services, and virtualization have brought the telephony providers into conflict with text messaging, particularly for email. So, while Microsoft is threatening the future of enterprise PBXs with its OCS, its enterprise Exchange messaging servers are now being threatened by the UC SaaS developers.

    I think it is time to redefine “unified messaging” (UM) as “UC Messaging” and its enterprise implementation as hosted or private “cloud” based. This will facilitate the vision of interoperability between business and consumer communications (e.g., CEBP and customers self-services) with presence and “click-to-call/chat” from asynchronous messaging.

    Obviously, Cisco is going to leverage its dominance in the IP networking connectivity market, but UC applications really need to be network and endpoint device indpendent. That’s what both Microsoft and IBM want, but I am sure Cisco will try to challenge.

    Best regards,

    Art Rosenberg
    The Unified-View

  2. dferris
    Posted November 9, 2009 at 6:07 PM | Permalink

    Here’s the pricing:

    Cisco WebEx Mail List Pricing
    * Webmail Client – includes webmail client, Ironport Security, High Availability, 5G Storage – $3.50/user/month
    * Standard Client – includes Webmail client, Ironport, High Availability, 5G Storage plus Support for Outlook Client, Support for ActiveSync – $5.00/user/month.
    * Blackberry support can be added to the Standard client package for an additional $1.00/user/month.

    Cisco will also be offering a 35GB option but that price is still TBD.

    The launch press release is at http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2009/prod_110809.html.

  3. dferris
    Posted November 9, 2009 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    Input from Don Neely, of IBM Analyst relations:

    “Neither of your blog post comments are grounded in reality re. the IBM Lotus portfolio – Do your research instead of taking Microsoft’s messages “as is.”

  4. Posted November 11, 2009 at 1:24 AM | Permalink

    Excellent post, Dave. I just added a screen shot as well of WebEx mail. You can see it here: http://blogs.zdnet.com/Greenfield/?p=556&tag=col1;post-556#more-556

  5. Posted November 12, 2009 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

    Great post David! I linked to your blog on the Cisco AR Blog http://blogs.cisco.com/ciscotalk/ar

    You can listen to Duncan Greatwood (former CEO of PostPath) on the Cisco WebEx Mail announcement podcast: http://www.cisco.com/go/arpodcasts

    Best,
    Regina Hoshimi
    Cisco AR

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