The tech industry is full of forums, alliances and collaborations with the stated aim of furthering some aspect of the industry to the greater good of everyone. While there usually is some broader benefit, these groups often create factions, whether they were intended to do so or not.
One example of such an alliance was unveiled yesterday, when HP, Microsoft, Logitech, Juniper Networks and Polycom all got together to form the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum. The stated aim of the UCIF is to improve the interoperability of the various bits of hardware, software and infrastructure required to make unified Communications (UC) happen.
UC is the concept of being able to access all the various types of communications though one interface on multiple devices. The founder members, as well as all having a stake in the future growth of UC, have one other thing in common: they all compete with Cisco, which is not mentioned once in the announcement.
While we're sure the UCIF will make all the usual noises about there being no barriers to membership, Cisco is not a founder member and it's hard to view this new organisation as anything other than a collaboration designed to help its founder members in their struggle against Cisco. A bunch of other members have also been announced, including Broadcom, Jabra, Plantronics and Siemens Enterprise Communications.
"Having these industry leaders come together to form the UCIF with the common goal of improving the interoperability of existing protocols will ideally simplify the purchase, migration and deployment process for customers, and I applaud them for their efforts," acceded Jonathan Edwards, UC research analyst at IDC.
You can find out more about the UCIF here.