Last year was a turbulent one for Silicon Valley based Tribe.net. Founding CEO Mark Pincus was ousted, in April 2005 and then returned in August 2006. While Pincus was gone rumors swirled that the company had been acquired by NBC, but the deal was never consummated.
But now the New York Times is reporting that the assets of the eight person company have been acquired by Cisco. This follows their acquisition of Five Across, a social networking infrastructure service, two weeks ago. The hope is to use the two company’s technology to help Cisco’s corporate clients build their own social networks, so it isn’t clear whether or not the Tribe service itself will live on.
The price of the Tribe deal hasn’t been disclosed, but usually these things leak within a few days.
The demand is clearly there, as seen by Reuters’ announcement today that they’re looking to build their own Myspace clone, for financial types. Everyone, it seems, wants their very own social network these days.
Cisco is now a player in the social networking space. That certainly wasn’t in anyone’s predictions for 2007. And there are bound to be a few snickers around the valley as Cisco dips its toes in this new business.
Marc Andreessen, the founder of Ning (which just upgraded its build-it-yourself social network platform), had a great sound bite on this topic in the NYT article. He said “The idea that Cisco is going to be a force in social networking is about as plausible as Ning being a force in optical switches.”