The web conferencing industry has been around a long time, starting in the late 1990's with the likes of Starlight Networks, Groupware by Lotus Notes and Placeware which was later bought by Microsoft in 2003. Having been in the web conferencing industry since 2004, I've heard a ton of misconceptions about WebEx.
Here are the three most common misconceptions I have heard about WebEx over the past 10 years:
1. All web conferencing solutions are equal.
2. WebEx is the most expensive web conferencing solution.
3. WebEx is the global market leader because it was first to market.
Misconception #1: All Web Conferencing Solutions are Equal:
No other web conferencing solution comes close to Cisco/WebEx:
- 50% global market share in web conferencing
- 95% of the Fortune 500 are using Cisco Collaboration
- 200,000 Cisco Collaboration customers worldwide
- Over 450,000 WebEx meetings per day across 231 different countries
- Over 2.6 billion meeting minutes per month which equates to almost 5,000 years worth of 24/7/365 meetings collapsed into one month
- 46 million WebEx attendees per month
- Over 5.5 million WebEx mobile app downloads
- World class security and over a $500M cloud infrastructure investment
- Safe Harbor Certification
- SSAE 16 Certification
- ISO 27001/2 Certification
- End-to-End (E2E) encryption with AES, 256-bit key
- 100% enterprise-ready collaboration platform
- Suite of enterprise collaboration solutions: Meeting Center, Training Center, Event Center, Support Center, Cisco Jabber, WebEx Cloud Connected Audio, Collaboration Meeting Rooms
- Integrates with Cisco UC infrastructure: voice, video, IM/presence
- Integrates with 3rd party standards-based video endpoints. Read more about Cisco/WebEx Collaboration Meeting Rooms
Misconception #2: WebEx is the Most Expensive Web Conferencing Solution:
WebEx Meeting Center:
- $24 per month or $19 per month on an annual plan (Supports 8 people per meeting)
- $49 per month or $39 per month on an annual plan (Supports 25 people per meeting)
- $89 per month or $69 per month on an annual plan (Supports 100 people per meeting)
- Meeting Center includes video conferencing, application sharing, VoIP, markup tools, whiteboard, record and playback, mobile meetings, Outlook integration, cross-platform support, world class Cisco security and reliability
- WEAKNESS: WebEx is part of a much larger company, Cisco, which means innovation, strategic vision and execution, and technology priorities could take a back seat to the core business.
- Pro: $49 per month or $39 per month on an annual plan (Supports up to 25 attendees)
- Pro Plus: $69 per month or $56 per month on an annual plan (Supports up to 100 attendees)
- GoToMeeting includes video conferencing, desktop and application sharing, integrated phone and VoIP, mobile apps
- WEAKNESS: Limited integration with Unified Communication clients like Microsoft Lync and IBM Sametime. Challenges in penetrating enterprise IT departments that have higher expectations and complex requirements. GoToMeeting is part of a much larger company, Citrix Systems, which means innovation, strategic vision and execution, and technology priorities could take a back seat to the core business.
Adobe Connect Pro:
- $45 per month or $35 per month on an annual plan (Supports 25 people per meeting)
- $55 per month, no commitment, cancel anytime
- Adobe Connect Pro includes video conferencing, application sharing, mobility, VoIP
- WEAKNESS: Adobe Connect Pro is part of a much larger company, Adobe, which means innovation, strategic vision and execution, and technology priorities could take a back seat to the core business. Customer support for Adobe Connect Pro is also below average with customer support reps asking "Can you tell me what the product serial number on your CD is?"
As mentioned earlier, WebEx has a full web conferencing solution called Enterprise Edition which includes Meeting Center, Training Center, Event Center and Support Center. WebEx Enterprise Edition is highly differentiated and the most popular WebEx solution deployed across a company at a enterprise-wide level.
Misconception #3: WebEx is the Global Market Leader because it was First to Market:
WebEx was NOT first to market in web conferencing.
In 1999, Placeware was the market leader with a 45% market share and approximately $4.2M in revenue. Evoke and WebEx were up and coming companies but were not considered market leaders. Within a year, WebEx surpassed Placeware and became the #1 web conferencing solution. In 2003, Microsoft acquired Placeware and then rebranded the product to Microsoft Live Meeting. Today, Microsoft has about a 10% market share in web conferencing.
1999, was a pivotal year for web conferencing as that's the year when many players entered the market:
ExpertCity entered the market in 1999 and was later acquired by Citrix Systems in Dec 2003. Products included GoToMyPC, GoToAssist and GoToMeeting. Today, Citrix GoToMeeting has about a 20% market share in web conferencing.
Adobe Connect, originally known as Presedia Breeze in 1999 was acquired by Macromedia in 2003. Macromedia Breeze remained in the market until it was acquired by Adobe in 2006. Presedia was founded in 1999 in Sunnyvale, CA. Today, Adobe Connect has about a 5% market share in web conferencing.
Intercall, which resells a variety of different web conferencing solutions, including WebEx, Adobe Connect, and Microsoft, also has about a 5% market share in web conferencing.
2014 Web Conferencing Market Share (Synergy Research):
- Cisco/WebEx: 50%
- Citrix GoToMeeting: 20%
- Microsoft: 10%
- Adobe Connect: 5%
- Intercall: 5%