Cisco has quietly decided to pull the plug on a cloud-based email offering, only 13 months after the product was introduced.

In a blog posted on the company’s site, Debra Chrapaty, senior vice president of Cisco’s collaboration software group, said the decision was based on customer feedback. “The product has been well received,” she said, “but we’ve since learned that customers have come to view their email as a mature and commoditized tool versus a long-term differentiated element of their collaboration strategy.

“We’ve also heard that customers are eager to embrace emerging collaboration tools such as social software and video,” she said.

Cisco introduced its Cisco Mail cloud offering in November of 2009 with high hopes for seizing a share of the emerging hosted email market. Originally called Cisco WebEx Mail, it was based on technology acquired from PostPath, a privately-held email and collaboration software developer based in Mountain View, Calif.

Chrapaty said at the time of its launch, Cisco believed customers would want to divest responsibility for managing email on-premise much the same way they had outsourced conferencing to Cisco via its WebEx conferencing service. However, Cisco has faced fierce competition from rivals, most notably Microsoft and Google, in the cloud-based email and collaboration market.

Cisco said it will continue to support customers for the length of their contracts and assist them in transitioning over to an alternative platform. Chrapaty said the employees who built and supported the Cisco Mail product will be reassigned to other collaboration products and services “that customers view as more strategic.”

 

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