Cisco Systems continues to show just how serious it is about video conferencing, announcing late on Sept. 30 its $3 billion acquisition of Tandberg, a Norwegian video communications company, reports the New York Times. Cisco has sold expensive, room-sized video conferencing systems that it calls TelePresence systems. Tandberg has similar technology but also sells smaller-sized, cheaper conferencing units, many of which are used by schools. In addition, Tandberg has specialized software for managing video conferencing systems and for creating connections between conferencing systems that rely on different underlying technology. "It really enables us to build out our portfolio," said Ned Hooper, a senior vice president at Cisco. In recent years, Cisco has been one of the technology industry’s most aggressive companies when it comes to acquisitions. It has bought close to 40 companies over the past five years, including the $2.9 billion purchase of web meeting software maker WebEx. The deals have thrust Cisco into new markets such as consumer electronics, business collaboration software, and computer servers, where the company now finds itself in direct competition with its traditional business partners like Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and IBM. And with $35 billion in cash–the highest total in the technology industry–Cisco appears poised to continue with this expansion…

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