News is just breaking that Cisco has agreed to aquire WebEx for $3.2 billion in cash. In 2006, WebEx generated nearly $50 million in profit on $380 million in revenue. They have $300 million or so in cash on hand, so the net deal value is $2.9 billion.
Webex is still ubiquitous (I am asked to view a WebEx presentation almost daily), but it’s expensive and bulky. And if you aren’t on a newish Windows PC, there’s a good chance it isn’t going to work properly. WebEx is exactly the kind of a company that is being disrupted by new web startups, who are creating cheaper and better alternatives to older web applications.
A bunch of startups have launched over the last year to provide cheaper and more flexible alternatives, including open source “clones” of WebEx functionality. Teamslide, DimDim (open source), 1videoconference (open source), Vyew, Live Meeting and SlideShare are all competitive with WebEx in one way or another, and all are better at cross platform collaboration.