Cisco & Google: Enemies Now & Forever

A few weeks ago, GigaOM contributor and veteran entrepreneur Allan Leinwand wrote a post entitled Cisco vs. All Comers. Well let’s add Google to that list of all comers. The Financial Times reported today that Cisco is developing a new “ultra-high-speed system for internet access in partnership with a number of U.S. service providers, according to people close to the company.”

Cisco, it seems, is trying to counter the unease caused by Google’s recent announcement that it will build Google Fiber, a fiber-based network that would connect homes at speeds of 1 Gbps. That’s despite the fact that Google executives dismiss the idea that the company would become a service provider, and characterize their proposed network as an experiment.

Regardless, the carriers are scared. Just like they were scared when Google said that it would start investing in wireless broadband by participating in wireless spectrum auctions. Earlier today we held our most recent Bunker Series Event where we discussed the broadband buildout ( GigaOM Pro, sub req’d), and I was pretty explicit in making the point that Google Fiber is a good thing, because incumbent carriers have been dragging their feet for too long.

When I emailed Cisco PR earlier today to get a comment on Google’s fiber plans and a clarification on the FT story, a company spokesperson wrote back:

Cisco is committed to continuing to partner very closely with service providers to enable advanced new telecommunications services. Cisco does not typically comment on other companies’ plans or products. With that said, Cisco believes that a next generation Internet will enable economic growth and job creation, as well as improve the delivery of health care, education and energy.

The spokesperson went on to note that:

In order to reap these benefits, the U.S. needs high-speed, future proof broadband networks that are accessible and affordable to all. Those networks will be predominantly built by the private sector, including new and existing operations using fixed and wireless technologies, various business models and partnerships and industry structures to create the next generation Internet. We believe the market will decide the best combination of those elements and that government policy should promote the most viable options.

And lo and behold, Cisco later emailed us an invite for an event on March 9, where the company “will make a significant announcement that will forever change the Internet and its impact on consumers, businesses and governments.”

Put two and two together and you can tell that something’s up. Ah, nothing like threat of Google to get technology companies re-energerized.

Updated: Since some of you asked in the comments, here are some of my previous posts about Google and Cisco and their looming competition. The competiton between Cisco and Google is going to manifest itself in many ways. The most obvious one will be in the emerging collaboration space.

Will Collaboration Pit Cisco against Microsoft, Google?Cisco versus the World.

Google’s real impact will not be that obvious to the naked eye. I am going to write a longer, more elaborate post sometime this weekend and share it with you.