There has been some interesting activity on the blogosphere recently. It all started when Zeus Kerravala from the Yankee Group wrote a positive Cisco opinion piece on NoJitter. It was a review of Cisco’s upcoming strategy for 2011 but he also had some interesting comments on Microsoft in his post. Zeus’s Microsoft comments are below:
“Considering Microsoft has OCS (Lync) and Share Point, it is embarrassingly far behind in providing thought leadership around corporate social networking.”
“Microsoft has been adding an attendant console and branch survivability (oooh, that's exciting).”
“Its focus on video, social networking and cloud based UC can have the transitional effects Cisco looks for in markets, and Microsoft’s strategy in all three of these areas is weak to mediocre.”
I have no problem with Zeus offering an opinion on Cisco’s strategy over the next 12 months. Good for him for having one. But I feel that the Microsoft comments, besides not showing any analysis or research on what Microsoft is really doing, were uncalled for. Zeus, not content with the first shots at Microsoft in the post went on to comment that the original staff that developed OCS had been turned over in the comments section.
“So I understand your comments but in my mind, since its initial launch Microsoft has lacked the vision to capitalize on the opportunity it has. We'll see if things change with wave 14 but considering that much of the OCS team has been turned over, I'm maintaining some skepticism”
The more interesting part of the article actually ended up being in the comments section and some follow on posts based on this first post. There were 21 comments total with a couple of reply’s from Zeus.
If Zeus was only really interested in a reaction, he certainly got one. Not just from Microsoft Employees but also from a Cisco customer. But the story doesn’t end here. A few days later Brian Riggs defended Zeus’s article responding to comments made by discontent readers. While it was great to see Brian come to Zeus’s defense I think that a response from Zeus may have been more appropriate.
But just when you thought the story was ending, Moz Hussain made a reply to Zeus’s article in his blog. He expressed the passion and bias toward Microsoft you would expect from someone from Microsoft. No surprises there and as a fellow softie totally understand and agree with where he is coming from.
Had Zeus taken a more critical look at the market based on a true analysis rather than what I consider cheap shots two things would have happened. Firstly, there would have been next to no comments. When you make controversial open statements on the blogosphere, it has a habit of coming back to haunt you unless that is what you wanted. Secondly, preserving his position as an analyst. I think the kind of comments he presented without backing it up with a factually based analysis could result in damage to the ideals of an independent analyst. I may be way off base here but without the Microsoft comments the article stands up to be a decent opinion piece around Cisco’s strategy with interesting insights. I think the Microsoft comments overshadow the good content in that article.
I think independent analysts blogging have a lot to gain and lose from this medium. When you step into the realm of offering strategy comparisons you certainly need to be well versed in both sides of the equation. The fact that Zeus has a number of articles on NoJitter related to Cisco and none that I found directly related to Microsoft tells me he hasn’t spent much time covering Microsoft recently. Yet he has formed a strong opinion on their current releases and roadmap with this article. It may be just a blog but you still have to preserve your integrity along the way and baseless comments although easy to make are not always the smart thing to do.
So what do you think? Was Zeus chasing a reaction or was he making a valid argument?