Why is a router maker buying Jabber, an open-source AIM clone? Disgruntled network admins (I'm still one in my heart) understand what Cisco's own press release doesn't spell out in English.Jabber isn't just another AIM wannabe. It uses XML trickery to connect to every popular instant message service — AIM, ICQ, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo — and to let programmers connect it to other services, be they for man or machine. It's already widely adopted by the IT workers whose managers sign the purchase orders for Cisco networking hardware. By building Jabber support into its switchers and routers, Cisco can make it easy for admins to get alerts from their hardware in the same IM window as their buddies. Cisco can also sell companywide IM setups that are closely tied to Cisco network gear for security and monitoring. Cisco recently picked up PostPath , which makes Linux-based email, calendar and collaboration software. I'm sure someone at Cisco plans to bundle Jabber's instant messaging with PostPath's Outlook-like features and dub it a "platform" to compete with Microsoft. But Jabber's main competition isn't Redmond, it's Dulles. Cisco can now offer managers a way to ban AIM from the workplace, or at least to manage it locally with Cisco equipment rather than routing employees' conversations straight to AOL.