Cisco buys Sipura

Cisco buys Sipura.

This isn’t exactly new news, but Cisco bought Sipura yesterday. Sipura makes a number of VoIP products, including the SPA-841
phone that I’ve been using for the past few weeks. They’re generally
considered to have the best SIP implementation of any of the cheap
vendors, and they make good, solid products for low prices. It’s a nice
combination. Cisco has been licensing Sipura’s technology
and using it in Linksys’s cheap VoIP hardware for around nine months
now. Linksys has had to jump through a number of hoops to keep Sipura
happy recently; apparently Sipura didn’t like customers buying the
unlocked Linksys PAP2-NA instead of the more expensive Sipura SPA-2000.
Now that Cisco owns both companies, I suspect that they’ll work out
their differences.

Hopefully Cisco won’t gut Sipura to keep them from competing with
Cisco’s more expensive products. The jury is still out on Cisco’s
Linksys acquisition—they haven’t released many exciting new products
since Cisco bought them, but they haven’t killed off any of their
interesting product lines or tried to stop the flood of alternate Linux
firmware distributions for the WRT54G family either.

One thing that’s interesting about this acquisition is that Sipura
was formed by a bunch of ex-Cisco people. After Cisco bought Komodo in
2000, a bunch of the Komodo people left Cisco to go form Sipura. Now
they’re back at Cisco again. This seems to be how Cisco does R&D
these days—it spins employees off to work on their own products and
then acquires them if they accomplish anything interesting. I’m not
convinced that it’s a bad way to deal with R&D risk in a huge
company—it shields Cisco from the cost of failure and promotes
risk-taking by R&D engineers, but it doesn’t do anything to help
unify Cisco’s massively fractured product lineup. 

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