Review: WebEx and GoToMeeting meet their match

Adobe Connect and Zoom lead six mostly stellar Web conferencing services for desktops and mobile devices

Review: WebEx and GoToMeeting meet their match
At a Glance
  • Zoom Video Communications Zoom

  • NetDev Drum ShareAnywhere

  • LogMeIn

  • Citrix GoToMeeting

  • Cisco WebEx

  • Adobe Systems Adobe Connect

Thomas Friedman famously announced that the world is flat in his 2005 book of that name; he was writing about globalization. In Friedman's view, VoIP, file sharing, and wireless were the "steroids" that have accelerated the flattening of global commerce. Today I'd add video over Internet, which has become more and more prevalent as bandwidth has improved.

The two leaders in business Web conferencing are Cisco WebEx and Citrix GoToMeeting. Other products in the field include Adobe Connect, Drum ShareAnywhere,, and Zoom. Of course, I’m leaving a few out, in at least one case as a kindness to the vendor. (They hate it when I leave them out; they really hate it when I tear their product to shreds.)

Some businesses use consumer products for voice and video over the Internet. Microsoft Skype, Google Hangouts, and Google Voice (no video) are three I've used extensively. While these can be useful, they don’t quite meet the criteria for business-grade Web conferencing products.

These higher-end products are expected to simultaneously display desktop shares, video, and audio. They have high reliability and quality. They integrate with common desktop software, and they work with mobile devices. They are also expected to handle large conference broadcasts, either in the base service or as a separate product.

As we will see, there is a bit of variation among the business-grade products in all of these areas, as well as some differences in their bundling strategies and their behavior in restricted-bandwidth situations. There is also variation in the geographic coverage of vendors’ telephone points of presence (that is, global call-in numbers), although telephony infrastructure is becoming less important as more users call in from their computers (using microphones and speakers) or mobile devices.

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