The WSJ reprots that Cisco (CSCO) is entering the video-conferencing mkt with a high-end system that continues the co's push beyond networking equipment. Listed co’s with competing products include H-P (HPQ) and Polycom (PLCM). Only 10-15% of Cisco's customers have the necessary communication infrastructure in place now, said Cisco VP Marthin DeBeer. Customers may have to buy extra capacity from their service providers to use the systems, he said. Lee Doyle, of IDC, estd that fewer than 100 of the new-wave telepresence systems have been installed world-wide. Elliot Gold, of TeleSpan, added that co’s can adopt less-sophisticated forms of video conferencing for as little as $7K, putting the Cisco system into a narrow niche. "I don't see it being a big seller," Mr. Gold said. One alternative to installing systems in-house would be for execs to use services that install and rent time on the Cisco hardware, said David Willis, of Gartner.
Notablecalls: Last Week Barron’s suggested that Cisco could eat Polycom (PLCM) and Radvision (RVSN) mkt share. See here.
“Heard on the Street” column discusses Goodyear (GT) saying that so far the co’s massive strike hasn't punctured its stock. Goodyear's stock is being bolstered by 2 things: The belief by investors that Goodyear's unionized workers will be forced to make big concessions, as has happened in other labor battles recently, from the airlines to auto parts. And signs that the tire business in general is poised for a boost from falling oil prices. "I think most of us expect mgmt will be able to reach a satisfactory arrangement with labor that will include lower costs and improved productivity," says George Putnam III, of New Generation Advisers. "This may be just a necessary step in the restructuring of the US operations," Mr. Putnam adds. "We don't set targets, but I'd hope to see the stock in the low 20s at least over the next year or so." Mr. Putnam also doesn't expect the strike to last long.
The NY Post has learned that in a bid to out-cool Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT) approached the ultra-snarky Pitchfork blog about supplying content to its Zune digital music player, but was rebuffed by the music hipster haven. The talks with Pitchfork were aimed at both giving Microsoft some indie credibility and taking advantage of the Zune's wifi capabilities by allowing users to zap reviews and other site content to each other, sources said. Unfortunately for Microsoft, Pitchfork didn't bite. "They asked us about generating new content with them or creating a new section on our site specifically for Zune visitors, but it wasn't something we were interested in pursuing," Pitchfork Editor-in-Chief Ryan Schreiber told The Post.