Cisco inks in Five Across purchase

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Cisco inks in Five Across purchase

Networking giant plans to offer social networking to enterprises.

Cisco has become the latest company to jump on the social networking bandwagon with an agreement to purchase Five Across, a firm that specialises in the creation of social networking sites and services. 

Cisco said that it hopes to offer Five Across' Connect Community Builder technology as a service to help enterprises add social networking functions to websites.

The Five Across technology will become part of Cisco's Media Solutions Group, a project to establish products for digital media content hosts. Cisco is mainly known for its IP and networking hardware, such as routers and switches.

The expansion of social networking services, such as those used by MySpace and Facebook, into the corporate world has been a priority for several major companies.

IBM announced its own venture into enterprise social networking last week with the incorporation of social networking capabilities into its new line of Lotus software. 

Cisco's acquisition does not necessarily mean a social networking war with IBM, however.

The Lotus software aims to build internal networks within businesses, while Cisco hopes to use Connect Community Builder as a way of helping enterprises offer the services to customers.

Dan Scheinman, senior vice president and general manager at Cisco Media Solutions Group, described the aim of the move as "helping customers evolve their website experience into something more relevant and valuable to the end-user".

Cisco hopes to finalise the Five Across acquisition by the end of April. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
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