back to article Who's still using Webex? Not even Cisco: Judge orders IT giant to use rival Zoom for virtual patent trial

A judge has ordered Cisco to use arch-rival Zoom rather than its own video-conference offering Webex to virtually attend a patent-infringement trial. Virginia District Court Judge Henry Morgan this month dismissed Switchzilla's request to appear via its own software for a bench trial due to start May 6. Physical courtroom …

  1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Clearly this judge has used WebEx before and knows how crap it is!

    1. chuBb. Bronze badge

      Im no fan of zoom, but fairplay to this Judge, has to be one of the sanest tech based bits of legal wrangling i have ever heard of!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm probably one of the few having used 3 months ago, because the company we were handing over a KT would have none of it. Webex or nothing.

      I was really crap. The lady giving the KT never was able to share here screen, none of the other dudes could know why, and she was far away.

      So I had to share my screen with the other company with one conf tool we AND share my screen with the lady with our previous conf tool to have a fully share session !

      Amazing ....

      1. John Savard Silver badge

        Oh, dear. I'm not happy to hear this, becasue if WebEx has problems that make it almost unusable, then being more secure than Zoom - and Zoom is fixing its security problems, or has fixed them - isn't going to be enough to save it.

      2. JoelLkins

        WebEx is garbage

        WebEx has the worst audio of Zoom, JoinMe, Teams, etc. It is like listening to the Charlie Brown teacher underwater during a storm.

        WebEx's screen sharing is dismal.

        If you have multiple Firefox windows open, WebEx doesn't allow you to share just one window. You have to share all of them.

        This is especially annoying if you have multiple monitors, with different browser windows on each. The only workaround is to share a single monitor, which immediately causes issues when you try to switch to a different app that happens to be on the same monitor -- it is shared as well.

        The only reason why I use WebEx is because my client demands it. I'd rather eat dirt, honestly.

    3. Dave K Silver badge

      WebEx is pretty crap, however after being forced to use Skype for Business for a couple of years on a customer site, WebEx actually didn't feel bad in comparison. Saying that, it isn't a patch on Teams (one of the very few Microsoft products that seems to work pretty well I've found).

      1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
        Meh

        Teams works better than Skype for Business? That's odd, my experience so far has been the other way around. Maybe I'm on some kind of internal MS blacklist?

        1. Dave K Silver badge

          It does for me, Teams has been pretty solid and reliable, whereas with SFB I've had customer calls I couldn't join due to "network issues", randomly being kicked out of calls, breaking/crackling audio, flaky screen sharing, and that's before we go into the awful "fisher-price" user interface. Teams on the other hand has been pretty solid for me so far!

    4. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Or

      He just wants Chinese transcripts of the proceedings.

    5. paddy carroll 1

      Thats a bit harsh on crap....

  2. Len Silver badge
    Big Brother

    As it happens I've got a Webex tomorrow morning

    I've have been on quite a few Webexes over the last few weeks and have one again tomorrow morning. From my own experience over these weeks they seem to be quite popular in international relations, foreign offices, embassies etc. Possibly because they've been instructed not to use Zoom.

    The UI looks fairly clunky and dated but the functionality works well. Even with massive sessions with over 150 participants, with Q&As in a chat window etc. It's just all a bit more of a hassle than Zoom. If Cisco is smart this is the time to spend serious money on UI/UX and keep a chunk of the video conferencing market. The size of the market is exploding so even if you keep the same market share you suddenly have three times as many customers as two months ago.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As it happens I've got a Webex tomorrow morning

      Errr this case is really bad advertising for Webex / CISCO.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: As it happens I've got a Webex tomorrow morning

        >Errr this case is really bad advertising for Webex / CISCO.

        If it were zoom presumably the judge would have ordered them to use webex

        He is just trying to avoid the retrial and accusations if the video had any problems that helped the defense

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As it happens I've got a Webex tomorrow morning

          Whilst that is true, this is setting a precedent that other state officials may well follow. In spades, across the US, possibly further. The reason for the specific choice will become lost along the way.

          And yes, Webex is no one's first choice. I only use it because my company mandates it. There are better options available.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: As it happens I've got a Webex tomorrow morning

            "Webex is no one's first choice. I only use it because my company mandates it. There are better options available."

            Our organisation mandated it. Everyone used Zoom instead - because it works.

    2. robidy Silver badge

      Re: As it happens I've got a Webex tomorrow morning

      Um...it's fine for Zoom to sort stuff out coz it's newish to the mass market...Cisco's been milking it for too long...plus one is free right now and easy to use...

    3. Saruman the White

      Re: As it happens I've got a Webex tomorrow morning

      As it happens I have being doing 4 or 5 Webex sessions every afternoon since the start of April; tomorrow finally wrapping up the last one. However I have to agree; clunky, unsophisticated, but it does work.

    4. chuBb. Bronze badge

      Re: As it happens I've got a Webex tomorrow morning

      Cisco just acquire and freeze the ui in time at point of acquisition, please dont update the UI cisco, i really dont want or need java or flash installed on my getting work done machine (and my cisco maintenance vm doesnt have any virtualised sound capabilities) just to be able to login to your crappy UI's that only work with specific combinations of internet explorer and JRE.

      (Have some old ASA's needing java 6 and ie7 only use ssh but one of my underlings will not ssh to asa's after having a who me worthy spot of bother in the past, ucm servers (java7 for crappy serial console, flash for login 0_o).

      Oh well at least i no longer have a skype for business servers which needed silverlight...

      1. robidy Silver badge

        Re: As it happens I've got a Webex tomorrow morning

        You also have a legacy unsupported kit issue by the looks.

        1. chuBb. Bronze badge

          Re: As it happens I've got a Webex tomorrow morning

          yup, thankfully all the legacy has transitioned from production to in house secondary systems and dev environments...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As it happens I've got a Webex tomorrow morning

      I have had several WebEx in the past months - the UI might be clunky, so what. It works (and I wouldn't say that e.g. skype for business looks much better). That's what counts. Sharing the screen works. Sketching notes works. Video works, but when you have more than a dozen people you tend not to use it (plus I know how my colleagues look like, and the camera angle is usually... strange). Audio works (when you get the firewall rules stuff sorted out by the company's FW admins), and you could still phone in if that does not work (did that last year, or year before, works, having a headset for the phone is a must for calls > 1 hour). The "raise your hand" function works really well, handing over control of presentations did work flawlessly in the instances we needed it.

      FFS it works. Move on, nothing to see. Don't fix what is not broken.

      We are not allowed Zoom nor MS Teams, due to data control issues / posisble data access mandated by foreign governments, like the US (we have our own WebEx servers, yeah, it's Cisco, yeah, could be backdoored, I know). I used zoom for some private stuff (kids + kindergarden + sports team), yeah, that one works as well. The person hosting the meeting _did_ have problems with the interface though. And it was glacially slow when everybody had their camera on... so: no, I do not think it is oh so much better than WebEx, nor is it worse - all systems suck, just in different ways.

      1. drexciya

        Re: As it happens I've got a Webex tomorrow morning

        Totally agree with the sentiments here; it's clunky, but it just works. I've been delivering a number of classes recently with WebEx, because Wu-Ping Cough, and it just works. Yeah it isn't fancy, or hip, but it does what it's supposed to do.

  3. ecofeco Silver badge

    Webex and Skype

    Great examples of how companies with lots of money can fail miserably.

    1. NeilPost Bronze badge

      Re: Webex and Skype

      Used Webex to get past the 45 min Zoom cap. It was pretty terrible and looked like it had barely evolved in 5+ years.

      Normally use RingCentrzl ;based on Zoom conferencing engine), but lost access since being furloughed.

      1. Joe W Silver badge

        Re: Webex and Skype

        "looked like it had barely evolved in 5+ years"

        You are saying that if it was a bad thing. I generally hate what people are dong with the "modern" UI crap. It is not intuitive and looks (typically) like carp when using on a real computer instead of a cell phone. And it is not usable, because it is optimised for a portrait mode layout, not landscape (exacerbated by the crazy wide screens, or rather squeezed down screens of modern laptops)...

        1. StewartWhite
          Linux

          Re: Webex and Skype

          "...looks... like carp"? Like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carp? It's all a bit Shadow over Innsmouth for my liking

          Tux icon because El Reg has no fish

        2. JoelLkins
          Flame

          Re: Webex and Skype

          Bring back Program Manager!!!!

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Program_Manager

          1. fidodogbreath Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: Webex and Skype

            Bring back Program Manager!!!! (Grumpy old man, get off my lawn, etc. --->)

            Ehhh, only if you're into that new-fangled Gooey Interface. Sidekick is how real power users et stuff done.

      2. Down not across

        Re: Webex and Skype

        Used Webex to get past the 45 min Zoom cap. It was pretty terrible and looked like it had barely evolved in 5+ years.

        I wish that was true. They have been mucking with the UI a lot, and like so many other have been infected with hunt around the screen with a pointed and you might come across a button for some functionality. Bring back the old UI, it may look clunky, but it worked fine.

        ff I'm on conference call I don't care if the UI looks pretty, I just want it to work and be able share application/screen if needed.

  4. ovation1357 Bronze badge

    It's been about 7 years since I left Oracle (I stuck it out for 2 years after they bought Sun, but then I voted with my feet) - they were a WebEx shop and I'm pretty sure that's the very last time since I encountered WebEx anywhere...

    I seem to recall that it ran okay if you were able to find the correct version of Java (hmm now I'm trying to remember whether it used a Java WebStart or the hideous Java browser plug-in). But it was quite clunky back then so if it's not been updated much it must feel like a dinosaur today.

    It certainly wouldn't strike me as a good tool for hosting a video court trial.

    1. chuBb. Bronze badge

      it used both depending if your browser was IE or something better

    2. Tom Wood

      I have to use WebEx occasionally for meetings with customers. It's certainly much better now than it used to be a few years ago - it may not look any prettier but it now Just Works in Firefox on Ubuntu without any plugins or anything.

      Though every company I use WebEx with seems to have a slightly different system (whether you can use web audio or have to phone in or have it phone you, etc), maybe due to how it is configured.

    3. ovation1357 Bronze badge

      It turns out that Oracle became a Zoom shop sometime since I left:

      https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/all/2020/04/28/zoom_oracle_cloud_infrastructure/

      I guess WebEx fell from grace.

  5. lesession

    Backed the wrong horse

    As lockdown rapidly approached, our organisation spaffed thousands on panic-buying Webex licenses.

    About two days before MS Teams became temporarily free for organisations in our sector.

    So we're all WFH and using Webex to keep the team going ... send help ...

    1. robidy Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Backed the wrong horse

      ROFL, use Zoom for the virtual pub at 5pm on Fridays...invite some management...like the one that ordered Webex :)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    used webex twice recently

    About a month ago, it worked without any issues, on Firefox on Linux none the less. I was amazed tbh. Even video and screen sharing were fine IIRC.

    Then again a few days ago. Click the invite link, was asked for access to camera (but not mic). Says audio not connected and nothing I can do. Tried Chromium as well, still was only suggested to either dial in or have Webex call me. Until it dawned that's how it was supposed to be. Optional video/screen share using Webex client and voice over phone only.

    I guess that's the way the host set it up. And the host was an old multinational financial institution after all so that explains I guess. But what a weird use of videoconferencing software. The voice quality was horrible for several participants of course and depended on who knows what. Video/screen sharing was not used and I went to another room for the call anyway.

    The only reason I can think of is to collect participants' phone numbers this way.

    1. Sammy Smalls

      Re: used webex twice recently

      There is no single 'Webex meetings'. Broadly there's Webex Meetings on-prem, Webex Meetings cloud 'Legacy' (multiple versions thereof) and Webex Meetings cloud 'New'. Financial institutions usually have on-prem because they've had it for years (frequently 10+) for compliance and archiving.

      They are all rock solid in terms of stability, but if you're on the first 2, then yes, they can be a bit dated for look/feel and user experience. The new cloud version (around for a couple of years now) is a much better experience. Modern even. ;)

      I'll bet you were using the 'new' Webex first and then the on-prem for the second. Very different things.

      Full disclosure - yes, I work with this stuff as a partner.

  7. Roml0k

    Cisco have a point

    > The judge rejected Cisco’s arguments that Zoom posed a security threat to Cisco by risking exposure of commercially confidential material to the wider world.

    Since we already know that Zoom had been mis-selling their product as having end-to-end encryption when it didn't, it's reasonable to conclude that Zoom could have unfettered access to the content of any meeting performed on their platform. This would include court sessions where sealed, secret, lawyers-ears-only information is shared about their direct competitors.

    Though I suspect Zoom would get nothing out of hearing Cisco's Webex secrets except a chuckle.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Cisco have a point

      The judge is only mandating for the court proceedings which should be public anyway. There's nothing to prevent the various parties using anything else for their private discussions and if those systems go phut then the lawyers will just have to wing it .

      1. The First Dave

        Re: Cisco have a point

        Why would the court proceedings by public???

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Cisco have a point

          >Why would the court proceedings by public???

          Unless your country's leader has a bad moustache court proceedings are public, you can go in to watch them and they are reported in the press

          Non-public court proceedings are normally the ones where the defendant knows the death sentence going in

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: Cisco have a point

            Non-public court proceedings are normally the ones where the defendant knows the death sentence going in

            Or the defendants are minors, varies a bit subject to jurisdiction though.

  8. xeroks

    used webex at the weekend

    for a family catch up. I was trying to wean the folks off of zoom for <waves hands vaguely> security reasons.

    The ui was a bit clunky, but better than I had expected. Last time i used it it was voice & screenshare only.

    They seem to have apps for the main platforms: ios, android and what was the other one?

    It wasn't as user friendly as Zoom, people found the audio linking confusing. On my Ipad it maxed out at 6 people onscreen at a time, and they were moved around constantly. You had to scroll to see the remaining participants.

    On the up side, the call quality was considerably better than when we'd used zoom the previous week (I think they must have had a lot of traffic at 7pm on a saturday).

    Also the free account gives unlimited length meetings, at the moment, which beats Zoom's annoyingly short 40 min calls.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: used webex at the weekend

      >for a family catch up. I was trying to wean the folks off of zoom for <waves hands vaguely> security reasons.

      Next week are you trying Jitsi ?

  9. David 28

    Am I the only one using Google Meet?

    Conference systems are the bane of my life, all our clients use different systems and want us to buy the same as them, we still try to have monthly meetings with one company that still has Lync 2010 conferences !!

    We use Google Meet which recently has improved and has been working well and has a decent number of international numbers to dial in on, we get the usual user issues of cannot hear you/can you here me which is common on all systems people are not familiar with.

    Now it will be the world and their auntie asking for Zoom conferences going forward, the hole just gets a bit deeper.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Am I the only one using Google Meet?

      <<Am I the only one using Google Meet?>>

      Well I hope not else those are some lonely meetings!

    2. analyzer

      Re: Am I the only one using Google Meet?

      Certainly not, the business I work for has gone GCloud big style and Meet ramped up very rapidly after lockdown started.

      Written Sunday March the 61st 2020

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Am I the only one using Google Meet?

        Do you know if Google are going to bring back (or still have) remote control functionality?

    3. si 4

      Re: Am I the only one using Google Meet?

      Google meet is now free and saves your recordings to gdrive, seems to work pretty well.

    4. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Am I the only one using Google Meet?

      We're using that for our Friday mixer at work. Partially since it's included with the rest of our Google services package.

  10. The BigYin

    No install required

    Whilst Zoom is a stinking turd, it can be cajoled into running in the Chrome. Cancel the auto-download, click on the download link, cancel that, now click on the new "Open in browser" link.

    Or kick Zoom into touch and go with something much more open like Jitsi Meet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
  11. John Savard Silver badge

    Headline?

    The headline is inaccurate, since here Cisco is not using Zoom instead of WebEx by choice.

    Not that I've even heard of WebEx, but it's nice to know a more secure alternative to Zoom is available.

    However, a subsequent web search, while it turned up mentions of recent extensions to Skype, and Microsoft's Teams product, seemed to indicate that WebEx was the only major direct alternative to Zoom. However, Jitsi Meet, an open-source alternative, was mentioned.

  12. Test Man

    Ouch, that must hurt Cisco LOL

  13. bladernr

    The judge should have let them use WebEX. I mean, it's not HIS job to keep them from prejudicing their own case by using their own crappy meeting software. WebEx is a nightmare, so my hat's off to Cisco for the ballsy move of wanting to use it for something this important to them.

  14. Alan Brown Silver badge

    No real surprise

    For many years, European cisco employees would you mobile phones to call each other instead of the cisco IP phones they were provided with in their offices

    Because the mobile phones worked.

  15. razorfishsl Silver badge

    Funny how HWAWEI was kicked to the curb... and suddenly we have "zoom"

  16. mrbruno

    Webex is great

    Wow. So much Webex hate. Why? I have been a contractor at Cisco for about 2 years and we use Webex ALL THE TIME, especially during the lockdown. We NEVER use zoom. As far as I know there's no decree about it but no one even thinks about it. If I want to conference with someone at Cisco, it's a NO BRAINER. Webex is great! Excellent quality, the ability to use my computer or phone for audio. Hell, it will even CALL MY PHONE for audio if I request.

    From 2012-2016, I worked full time for another company and we used Webex all the time too. It wasn't Cisco but we NEVER thought about using anything else for conferencing. THERE WAS NO NEED. Webex was great even back then.

    I was a contractor at IBM during 2016-2017 and we DID use both Zoom and Google Meetup. I think they were too cheap or were jealous or something and didn't use Webex. I have nothing against IBM really... I worked there full time for two decades but it's really changed since I first worked for them.

    Now, instant messaging is another kettle of fish! Cisco pushes Webex Teams which I dislike (as do most of my colleagues). I much prefer Slack but everyone uses Webex Teams so that's what I use at Cisco

    So saying "not even Cisco uses Webex" is total bull.

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