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Cisco announced today that it is launching a small number of collaboration services from its enterprise social network, Quad, as a separate, lite service called Jabber.

Jabber pulls a few of the more popular features from Cisco’s teleconferencing service and Quad and slaps it on just about every device. That includes secure instant-messaging, visual voicemail, desktop sharing and eventually video conferencing. The service will come out for Mac personal computers first. Users can also use Jabber to transfer phone calls from one device to the next — such as from a mobile phone to a home phone.

Cisco is also launching the service on the iPad and its own tablet, the Cius. The service is also coming to the iPhone, the BlackBerry and devices running Google’s Android. Cisco is also launching it for Nokia’s now-dead Symbian mobile operating system because the devices are so widely distributed.

Just about every enterprise company has taken a crack at mimicking real-life collaboration through an online service. Yammer, Salesforce and Cisco — for example — all have enterprise social networks. But as popular as each application has become — Salesforce’s Chatter has around 80,000 users, and Yammer has more than 100,000 — the field is still pretty segmented. Various services like file sharing and customer support are strewn across multiple startups.

Cisco tried to buck that trend by duct taping every service together in its own enterprise social network, Quad. But that network is geared mostly toward Cisco customers that already use the company’s teleconferencing and networking services. Salesforce also followed a similar trend for its social network, Chatter, but it was forced to unleash it with a freemium model in order to compete with other enterprise collaboration services.

Despite any success that Quad had, however, there was still a lot of demand from Cisco users for specific features — not the full service, said Laurent Philonenko, Cisco’s vice president of unified communications.

“We’ve seen a lot of demand for embedding just some of those Quad features in tablets and on desktops,” Philonenko said.

The teleconferencing and instant-messaging features will appear on mobile devices in the second half of the year and are already available on PCs.


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