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Cisco Kills Cloud Computing Email

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Email is a tough business. Just ask networking giant Cisco.

After just over a year of trying to make a market for its own Linux-powered hosted email service, Cisco is calling it quits.

“The product has been well received, but we’ve since learned that customers have come to view their email as a mature and commoditized tool versus a long-term differentiated element of their collaboration strategy,” Debra Chrapaty, senior vice president and general manager in Cisco’s Collaboration Software group wrote in a blog post.

Cisco declined to provide any additional comment to beyond what is available in Chrapaty’s blog post. Cisco’s spokesperson said that the blog post is the official statement from Cisco.

Cisco’s hosted email product has its roots in the Linux-powered PostPath technology that Cisco acquired in August of 2008 for $215 million. By March 2009, Cisco had revealed that they were in the process of building out a hosted email offering using PostPath. The Cisco Mail solution then finally was made available for public trials in November 2009.

Charapaty noted in her blog post that the driver behind the original launch of the Cisco Mail service was similar to the one behind Cisco’s WebEx. With WebEx users get a managed service for conferencing that is offered in a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. The idea was that customers wanted to go the same route with email and divest from the need to actually manage their own email technology on-premise.

One of the big winners in the hosted email space remains Google with its Google Apps bundle, which was a competitor to Cisco Mail.

As Cisco Mail now winds down, Chrapaty noted in her blog post that Cisco will help users to transition to other email alternatives.

“Cisco will also continue to integrate to other email systems to protect our customers’ legacy communications investments,” Chrapaty blogged. “It should go without saying that Cisco remains very committed to the collaboration technology market opportunity overall.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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