In Discussion with Chambers and Ballmer

The chief executives of Microsoft and Cisco Systems flesh out interoperability and vigorousyet friendlycompetition, and how the end user will benefit

Just as the rhetoric between Microsoft (MSFT) and Cisco Systems (CSCO) seemed to be heating up, the chief executives at the two tech titans announced plans to tone down the acrimony. Both companies, powerhouses through the 1990s, have seen growth slow as their core markets have matured. But both companies have found themselves butting heads as they move into similar markets, such as Web conferencing, in search of new growth engines (see BusinessWeek.com, 5/21/07, "Microsoft and Cisco: Can They Still Be Pals?"). In pursuit of these new businesses, executives at the companies have traded barbs, to hawk their own products and denigrate the competition.

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