Logitech’s LifeSize Buy Represents Logical Progression

Logitech, best known for computer peripherals, has announced the acquisition of videoconferencing vendor LifeSize Communications for $405 million in cash.

Whereas Tandberg, currently the object of Cisco’s ambivalent acquisitive interest, makes its money selling midrange to high-end videoconferencing systems, LifeSize concentrates primarily on device-based personalized videoconferencing products within the budgetary reach of SMBs. At the very high end of the enterprise market, we find Cisco with its customized, room-based telepresence systems.

LifeSize has some higher-end product offerings in its portfolio, but its device-based products will be better suited to Logitech money-making prowess. Logitech’s expertise is in designing, making, marketing, and selling (through its vast channels) computer peripherals such as mice, keyboards, and webcams.

It’s that latter product group that shares an affinity with LifeSize’s device-based videoconferencing. No doubt Logitech will push LifeSize’s current offerings through its existing channel partners while working on next-generation products that further broaden the availability and market reach of high-quality, low-cost personalized videoconferencing.

Logitech gradually is attempting to ascend the videoconferencing value chain. Last fall, Logitech paid about $30 million to acquire SightSpeed, a vendor of software-based videoconferencing software. Following up on that purchase a year later, Logitech now has moved up to acquire a device-based videoconferencing vendor.

Still, Logitech doesn’t have the profile, relationships, or resources to take LifeSize into battle against Cisco, Tandberg, or Polycom in more sophisticated room-based systems. Logitech doesn’t have the DNA, or the customer mandate, for that fight.

Notwithstanding the ceiling on how high Logitech’s reach can extend, the Swiss vendor of peripherals is well placed to make a lucrative push with most of LifeSize’s small-form-factor, device-based products. Those offerings fall comfortably within Logitech’s wheelhouse.

All in all, LifeSize was a logical next step on the acquisition trail for Logitech. The combination should result in increased sales of the LifeSize product portfolio into SMB accounts and even into the high-end consumer sphere, though I suspect one motivation for this move by Logitech was to lessen its dependence on the clapped-out consumer space.

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