Update: Cisco Buys Social Net Software From Tribe; Site Not Part Of The Deal

Updated: The company has officially announced the deal. It has bought “select assets” of Utah Street Network, the operator of Tribe.net. This software will be integrated into the Cisco Media Solutions Group, “which is focused on infrastructure products to help digital media content owners improve the consumer experience”. Employees (all seven of them) from Tribe will now join Cisco.
The deal does not include the Tribe.net site, which will remain completely independent of Cisco.
Original post: Cisco, which recently bought Five Across white-label social networking service, is buying another has-been social network, Tribe.net, for the technology, reports NYTimes. The deal will give Cisco the technology to help large corporate clients create social networking services resembling to bring their customers together online, the story says.
Tribe.net would remain an independent site, while its underlying technology would go to Cisco.
Earlier last year Tribe was in play and was in long due-diligence with NBC, but the deal fell through. Then the founder Marc Pincus bought back the site/service from the investors. Judging by the potential small deal value then, this one probably cost low single digital millions, if that.
Meanwhile, Marc Andreessen, now the CTO of a rival white-label social networking service Ning, indulged in some trash-talk about Cisco’s efforts: he said that even with its two acquisitions, Cisco might be underestimating the ease of combining technologies behind Tribe.net and its earlier acquisition, Five Across. “The idea that Cisco is going to be a force in social networking is about as plausible as Ning being a force in optical switches,” he said.
Updated: As to why Cisco is making bets in social networks, here’s a very well reasoned explanation from Danny Khatib, compared to the knee-jerk reactions you can read from here: “Cisco’s acquiring technology assets (and software employees) on the cheap. It