Sometimes I spend a good portion of my day on WebEx. I’ve met some of the staff at Cisco and when they pass control of the meeting to another participant they say they’re “passing the ball,” because the WebEx icon looks like a ball.

According to the Cisco WebEx website, “WebEx web conferencing lets you connect with anyone, anywhere, in real time. WebEx combines desktop sharing through a web browser with phone conferencing and video, so everyone sees the same thing while you talk.” The company says three million people use the service.

Figures from 2009 show WebEx being the dominant market-share leader, with Citrix Online and Microsoft Live Meeting in second place. But being the market leader doesn’t mean you don’t have critics, and it’s likely WebEx could grow its market share by solving some technical problems and improving its customer support.

Positive Themes

People like WebEx best for enabling them to hold virtual meetings for training, conferencing, and sharing and collaborating.

  • Webex training works well. We have wonderful tools nowadays. We just need to align them with our goals & practices. (source)
  • I must say, @WebEx is awesome tool for collaboration. (source)
  • one meeting this morning, I love the combination of TelePresence and WebEx~ and I really enjoy having conversation with our friends in US. (source)
  • Free is always popular with consumers, and WebEx’s free trial is an effective sales tactic.

  • @dudekstudio Shhh, but I kinda do too. Free WebEx is fun and it let’s people use it who might not otherwise. (source)
  • Speaking of free, the free WebEx app for the iPad app is a great promotion for both the service and the device.

  • The free Cisco WebEx App is almost a good enough reason to buy an iPad all by itself if you do a lot of mobile conference calls. (source)
  • WebEx video is running perfectly on iPad! This makes the iPad a serious biz device to collaborate (@ciscosystems) (source)
  • Consumers have even quantified the time and money they save by using WebEx for virtual meetings, and they love the WebEx mobile application.

  • So far in 2011 i’ve saved at least 5000 Euro for travel expenses because i use Cisco @TelePresence and webex. (source)
  • Just completed the first WebEx meeting from my iPhone..and it is totally Awesome!! I wonder if they saw me taking the call from bed?! (source)
  • Negative Themes

    Technology is a great time- and money-saver—when it works. From crashing browsers to slow connection speeds, users have some issues with WebEx.

  • RT @dahowlett: Webex keeps crashing my browsers fail. On call-in instead /Happens me as well. Hate Webex. (source)
  • There is still code that can’t deal with this type of security, and the most glaring examples are Web browser add-ons. WebEx has been the most troublesome application.Neither in Internet Explorer nor Firefox has my limited-rights user account been able to join a conference. (source)
  • And when users have issues, nothing is more frustrating than poor technical support.

  • @webex is getting worse.. call, transfered, transfered, dropped my call while waiting, call them back, “representative are busy”. (source)
  • Cost is an issue, even among users who like WebEx’s functionality.

  • The easier to install on a new user PC the better. I have used WebEx in the past and several others before resting on a solution. Webex worked great but it was the high price leader. A lot of companines I work with use gotomeeting successfully. I have settled on Adobe Connect Now Links: http: (source)
  • @DrAvalanche I know, but WebEx pay-per-use is hideously expensive. (source)
  • At the same time, we were also searching for options other than WebEx to enable our Team to communicate more effectively with clients. For example, we often need to demonstrate solutions, train clients or troubleshoot a problem. WebEx was expensive and had to be restricted to a couple of accounts. (source)
  • Many users also had problems with audio functionality.

  • We use WebEx to share screens when we do demonstration sessions. WebEx works on Windows and Mac and launches through your web browser. We don’t use the audio functionality of WebEx because it is not reliable, so please. join and type in your name and email address. (source)
  • Insights

    There’s no shortage of competition in the web conferencing space. Among the competitors mentioned in posts are GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, NetMeeting, GoToMyPC, Live Meeting, Unyte, Adobe Connect Pro, Unified Meeting and others. WebEx is backed by Cisco—a big plus in terms of telecom experience and reputation—but other services are backed by the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Citrix and other heavyweights.

    At this point, WebEx is so well known that people often use “webex” as a generic term for web conferencing—a good and bad thing. Good because that’s great ongoing name recognition and ensures WebEx is always on the short list of possible vendors. Bad because the company needs to continue protecting its trademark so it doesn’t lose it, even while continuing to promote the name as the standard for web conferencing.

    As we’ve seen with other products, people often complain about cost and in the same sentence say the product delivers real value. So even though some users perceive WebEx as expensive—cost was the second-largest negative theme—the company’s pricing may be about right. That’s an important business lesson, given that “Microsoft Live Meeting, while continuing to saturate the market, is declining in terms of revenue share, partly due to its aggressive pricing and bundling.”

    Technical problems do crop up, given that the product has to work across a range of operating systems, browsers, security software, etc., and apparently the audio feature is especially problematic, but Cisco could take to heart the complaints about customer support and improve that function, which can obviously have a positive impact on the bottom line.

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