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Optical/IP

Cisco's Billion Dollar Plays

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- John Chambers, president and CEO of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) broke out the revenue potential and timing of six key technology markets that Cisco believes will drive future growth, during his morning keynote at the company’s worldwide analyst conference here in rainy Santa Clara.

The technology areas that Cisco expects to attain $1 billion markets, in order of current size, are:

  • Security
  • Networked homes
  • IP telephony
  • Optical networking
  • Wireless LANs
  • Storage
Chambers said Cisco’s goal in each of these new technology markets is to get to $1 billion in revenue within five to seven years from when it entered the market, and that Cisco is headed for that goal with each of these technologies.

“At the present time all of them are headed in the right direction, but if we hit half of them that’s a pretty good job."

The Cisco CEO stressed that Cisco as a company aims to practice what he preaches about IT productivity. Cisco’s internal focus was on increasing productivity in terms of both revenue per employee and customer satisfaction.

Chambers said customer satisfaction is one of Cisco’s key metrics, which it uses to rank each employee in the company. He cited a survey from Heavy Reading, Light Reading’s market research division, that indicates that Cisco ranked No. 1 among equipment vendors in the eyes of most carrier employees, emphasizing the need for Cisco to execute on service providers’ positive perception of his company (see Cisco Winning Market Perception War).

[Ed. note: The Heavy Reading 2003 Telecom Equipment Market Perception Study examines the market perceptions of over 700 service provider employees around the world.]

In a Q&A session, Chambers also addressed a print advertising campaign that Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR), Cisco’s largest competitor in the router market, is running in the Wall Street Journal. (The campaign, which uses cartoons to disparage Cisco, also may be viewed on Juniper's Website.)

“These cartoon ads have grown increasingly disparaging,” one audience member said. “This is some serious trash talking."

“In terms of how we deal with competition [Cisco] likes to play with class and… talk about what we’re doing, and about the positives within the company,” responded the CEO. “As a coach you don’t let your players make a lot of negative comments about the opposition because they get fired up enough as it is.

"[The Juniper campaign] surprised me because Juniper usually plays with a lot of class, and we are seeing some different behavior from them. Will we follow similar approaches? Absolutely not!”

In response to another question, Chambers said that Cisco’s strategy in selling IP telephony revolves around selling it as an entire network.

“I think the decision [about IP telephony] is already done. The question is whether they will do it with a single network. It has to do with where are you in making pinpoint decisions or network decisions, or network-to-network decisions."

Refining a long-running sales theme, Chambers stressed that, as always, the heart of Cisco’s message is that it can increase productivity with new network technologies.

Increased productivity has a “one-to-one correlation” with capital spending in the IT sector, he said, and continued growth in productivity will drive more capital spending, which in turn will create new jobs.

“We expect our customers to see their business improve, then they’ll spend on capex. Then they’ll watch that for a while, then we’ll see jobs.

“The reason I’m optimistic about not just the next year, but the next decade is productivity and the leverage you get from it. At 5 percent GDP growth, which I think is possible, you can double productivity every 14 years.”

— R. Scott Raynovich, US Editor, Light Reading

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jim_smith 12/4/2012 | 11:10:44 PM
re: Cisco's Billion Dollar Plays Of the six plays, only IP telephony seems lucrative to me. Security is small. Incumbents in Optical and Storage will give Cisco stiff competition. Networked homes & wireless LANs have razor thin margins.

On a related topic: How long can Cisco maintain its huge profit margins on switches & routers?

Service providers are in terrible pain - their profit margins are plummetting. Sooner or later Cisco is going to feel the pain.

Having said all this, I am totally amazed how Cisco keeps pulling off the "1 cent above earnings" stunt... just amazing!
ethel the frog 12/4/2012 | 11:10:34 PM
re: Cisco's Billion Dollar Plays To get $1Bn a year in optical reveune they would need to buy a large incumbent supplier - how about Lucent or Alcatel?
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