Cisco: No Shaking in these Boots

Over the past three weeks Cisco has watched Juniper announce stellar earnings, Brocade purchase Foundry, and now Siemens and Enterasys form a Joint Venture.  From the countless analyst reports, news articles, and blog entries, you would think that Cisco was on the verge of a complete collapse.

When Juniper announced stellar earnings, people wrote “it’s a two horse race.”  After Brocade made their move the headlines read, “Brocade gunning for Cisco.”  Finally, now that Enterasys and Siemens have joined forces, the headlines read, “Watch out Cisco.”  

Does anyone believe that these moves came as a surprise to Cisco?  Did John Chambers wake up to the San Jose News only to call an emergency meeting of his top executives?  Did Chambers lament about not buying Foundry’s problems, Enterasys’ flat-line revenue growth, or worry about Juniper’s identity crisis?

Perhaps human nature predisposes us to root for the underdog and loath the leaders.  However, this phenomenon seems to be particularly strong within the technology sector.   After all, does anyone loath Boeing or GE?  What feelings are invoked when I mention Microsoft, Oracle, Adobe, IBM, or HP?  Even Google has found that being the leader (by a wide margin) conjures images of evil and ulterior motives. 

Whether you can admit it or not, Cisco is a well oiled machine.  They have revenues of over $34 Billion, have over 60,000 employees, have a robust network of channel partners, and have a legion of certified Cisco engineers.  They understand that evolutionary technology changes come from within while revolutionary technology changes come from acquisition.

This week we are talking about Enterasys, next week we’ll be talking about Extreme Networks, and then someone will write how networking and Cisco have to change to meet the demands of “cloud computing.”   In the end, it’s all simply noise.  No one needs to wake the sleeping giant, because under Chamber’s leadership Cisco is not sleeping.

Save the sensational headlines and predictions for politics.  Cisco’s not shaking in their boots but the same may not be true for their competition.


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