Both Cisco and Microsoft offer phenomenal UC (Unified Communications) platforms. However, their rivalry is legendary in the industry. As an outside observer, it is Cisco that remains dominant in the UC world today. They have been able to maximize their leverage through its VoIP technology.
Yes, it is true that if Microsoft included their SharePoint and Exchange Revenue programs, they can claim to be the market leader. However, sale-for-sale comparisons indicate that Microsoft now holds the number two position when asked specifically by the users about their preference over one or the other.
Cisco Holds the Top Spot
To validate that logic, surveys were taken at the end of 2012 where the respondents of the survey maintained that Cisco continues to hold the top spot as the unified communications leader. Taking the lead share of more than 43%, Cisco was leaps ahead of Microsoft’s less than 27% results. Sadly, Avaya/Nortel barely made it across the finish line at 7%, which still outperformed the rest of the participants including IBM.
Microsoft poses a challenging threat to Cisco in the UC market. Before Microsoft came along, Cisco was only competing with UC companies that approached the market in a similar way that Cisco did. Cisco was able to hold the lead because of their mighty budgets for marketing. Because of that, other companies in the running simply put their divisions up for sale. Nortel suffered from many problems that muddied their waters, and Avaya just chose to go private. During this time, even IBM could not figure the best way to get the market share or come close to it.
Microsoft Has Loyal Customers
Eventually, Microsoft entered the arena and brought with it its loyal customers. Microsoft has phenomenally deep pockets and expansive marketing budgets. Because of that, Cisco has lost its potential for winning every fight out of sheer will and strength.
As a result, Cisco has become tired from attempting to prove why their product is so much better than Microsoft Lync. Simply stating they have a better product at a cheaper price is not enough to sway loyal Microsoft consumers.
In the end, Cisco understands that they must appeal to the audience that remains loyal to Microsoft to take any more of a market share. While it is impossible for any company including Cisco to maintain leadership in an entire industry, they can promote one product over the other and maintain a high level of the entire market share.