Networking giant Cisco announced today that it is set to acquire Jabber, the open source messaging vendor behind the popular XMPP (aka Jabber) protocol used by Google Talk. The move will enable Cisco to extend its IM services in the business world through integration with WebEx, the online collaboration suite for web conferencing, and Unified Workspace, Cisco’s solution for team work and collaboration for distributed teams.

Under the deal, Jabber employees will be folded into Cisco's collaboration software group. It is not particularly clear why they chose to buy Jabber when anyone with a domain name can run a Jabber server of their own free of charge. Then again, Cisco has made for itself as one of the biggest acquirers in tech so it’s not really that much of a surprise. This is just the latest in Cisco’s moves to get into the software services market, with other recent acquisitions including WebEx, IronPort, and PostPath.