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Cisco teams with Haier for home network gear

Hold hands and take the plunge

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Cisco has inked a deal with one of China's largest appliance makers to develop networking gear for residential use. Through its partnership with the Haier Group, Cisco seeks to cash in on the ever-growing popularity of the internet as a critical component in home entertainment centers.

Cisco swill begin their new relationship by exploring the best way to crack the market. Neither company is providing specific details on the agreement right now, or what products may spring forth from the union. Obviously there's a demand to see low resolution vignettes of human tragedy on the YouTubes — but that don't feed the baby.

The companies expect to gain a strategic position from the deal. The Haier Group is trying to expand further into international markets, and can use Cisco to deliver the brand abroad. Meanwhile, Cisco is getting a giant manufacturer in one of the largest consumer markets in the world. Haier's current product line spans from air conditioners to TVs to mobile phones.

Haier is also already a big Cisco customer in China. The company said its technology relies on Cisco equipment throughout its operation.

Microsoft has been stalking around the market as well. In June, they bought a piece of Chinese TV maker Sichuan Changhong Electric, another one of China's biggest electronics manufacturers. Microsoft said they would work closely with Sichuan Changhong on development, production and marketing of television, PCs and other digital entertainment products.

The CEOs of both companies have said they will be fighting head-to-head with unified communication devices and internet-driven television. Cisco plans to tackle the market at the network level, while Microsoft will go the software route. Which is not altogether surprising. ®

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