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Videoconferencing consolidation continues: Logitech buys LifeSize

Lost in the hoopla from last week’s news that HP bought 3Com was a much smaller deal in the high definition (HD) videoconferencing market. PC accessory company Logitech has bought LifeSize Communicaitons, a six-year-old vendor of HD desktop videoconferencing and room-based telepresence products for $405 million.

Logitech is best known as a manufacturer of peripheral devices for PCs, especially keyboards and mice. With only a line of standard-definition webcams, Logitech’s specialty is not enterprise video.

With LifeSize, Logitech graduates from selling peripheral devices to consumers and small businesses to selling an enterprise solution. It’s a whole different ballgame. In addition to endpoint devices, LifeSize sells HD videoconferencing infrastructure, such as multipoint control units (MCUs), gateways and security devices.

In the wake of Cisco’s attempt to acquire Tandberg (a deal which might be collapsing), LifeSize probably recognized that competing in the enterprise video market will require the backing of a larger corporate partner.  Logitech might have the money to boost LifeSize’s marketing budget, but it doesn’t bring the right sales channel to the table.

The most logical next step for Logitech will be to approach key unified communications competitors to Cisco like Avaya, Siemens and Microsoft to build up video interoperability partnerships.

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