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.