It's no big secret that huge vendors like Microsoft, IBM and SAP are trying hard to win SMB business.
A key strategy for doing so, which we can't help but think carries more than a touch of irony, is gobbling up smaller companies. The latest example of this is Cisco, which is paying $3.2 billion for WebEx Communications, the leading provider of Web conferencing.
Earlier this year, Cisco purchased Five Across and Tribe, two companies that, like WebEx, fit squarely under the collaboration umbrella. Perhaps not coincidentally, they also appear to lend Cisco some Web 2.0 cachet.
The acquisition pits Cisco against IBM and, especially, Microsoft in the battle for business collaboration market share. Microsoft's primary weapons are its Office 2007 and SharePoint 2007, which are used by companies of all sizes, not just large enterprises.