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If anybody has insight into the sales and channel programs of the newly combined Cisco and Tandberg video conferencing operation, it’s probably Polycom’s new executive vice president of global field operations.

Andrew Miller, who joined Polycom about three months ago, has served as an executive at Cisco and also as the CEO of Tandberg.

“I’m very fortunate to have worked for both companies,” he says. “They are clearly different cultures from the Norwegian Tandberg to the U.S. West Coast-based Cisco.”

Which begs the question, why didn’t Cisco acquire Polycom instead? Polycom’s headquarters in Pleasanton, Calif., is just a 30- to 45-minute drive from Cisco’s San Jose, Calif.-based headquarters. For whatever the reason, now that Cisco has announced plans to acquire Tandberg, it leaves Polycom and smaller venture capital-funded LifeSize as potential acquisition targets for other vendors looking to make a video conferencing play.

And as for Cisco and Tandberg, Polycom’s Miller says the two companies have different channel partner models that sometimes overlap and sometimes are different in the marketplace, but that will give the companies an opportunity to form a new corporate culture.

“I think they are two great companies,” he says. But that doesn’t mean Miller is not formulating plans to beat them in the video conferencing game.

For example, Miller was quick to tout how Polycom’s offerings are considered standards-based when compared with Cisco’s.

“We are now looked at as very agnostic in how we position ourselves with partners such as HP, Microsoft and IBM, who demand standards-based plays,” he says. “But that doesn’t mean we cannot play within a Cisco environment. There are many Cisco customers who prefer best-of-breed technology,” he adds, saying that Polycom’s solutions can interoperate with Cisco and Tandberg, too.

And, of course, Miller says that Cisco’s move to buy Tandberg validates the value of the video conferencing space.

“It’s a great marketplace to be in for all parties,” he says. “I think this acquisition ratifies and justifies the importance of this technology in the enterprise and service provider markets.”