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Cisco's Chuck Robbins Talks AppDynamics, Jasper at MWC

Scott Ferguson

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress 2017 -- While much of Cisco's focus at this year's show has centered on 5G and the Internet of Things, CEO Chuck Robbins has also kept an eye on the company's cloud transformation and record of acquisitions.

At a press conference here on Tuesday, Feb. 28, Robbins spoke about a number of topics, including how the Trump administration's approach to taxes and trade policy could change the way Cisco does business and invests. (See Cisco CEO: Trump Changes Won't Affect Our M&A Strategy.)

Robbins also focused on two of Cisco's largest cloud-related acquisitions -- the $1.4 billion deal for Jasper from last February, and its $3.7 billion agreement in January to buy AppDyanamics, just as that company was preparing its own IPO. (See Cisco's AppDynamics Deal Goes Beyond Cloud.)

The two deals are at the core of Cisco's ongoing transformation from a provider of networking gear toward a business that focuses on software and services, including security, cloud and analytics. (See Cisco Q2 Earnings Show Company's Ongoing Transition.)

At his talk, Robbins updated the Jasper acquisition, which offers Cisco a way to address issues related to IoT in the cloud. As of now, there are 40 million connections to the Jasper platform compared with 17 million connections when the acquisition took place. In addition, Cisco now counts 9,000 Jasper customers versus 3,500 when the deal was struck.

Finally, there are now 50 service providers using the Jasper platform, Robbins said.

Cisco also announced two significant updates to the Jasper platform at the show, including support for Narrow-Band IoT, as well as a partnership with Honda for connected vehicles.

Chuck Robbins, second from left, at Mobile World Congress
Chuck Robbins, second from left, at Mobile World Congress

Then there is the January acquisition of AppDynamics, which gives Cisco a new way to provide analytics within the data center and on the network.

"We have analytics that we can extract from the data center through our Tetration solution, and we have an initiative underway to extract analytics from the broader enterprise network, and we have probably the largest threat and security analytics information in the world," Robbins said.

Robbins also discussed the frantic weeks leading up to the AppDynamics acquisition. It started a conversation about partnership around the 2016 holiday season. However, with the IPO approaching, Cisco decided to commit to a full-blown acquisition. This led to weeks of financial maneuvering through January, while Robbins participated at CES and the World Economic Forum.

The day before the IPO, the two companies inked the deal.

"We signed the final deal at 4:15 in the afternoon, we put out a press release at 4:20 and I walked into their headquarters at 4:45 and did an employee all hands [meeting]," Robbins said.

— Scott Ferguson, Editor, Enterprise Cloud. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

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