Consuming Cisco

3:00 PM -- A little more from the Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) Analyst Day. Wednesday morning kicked off with a "fireside chat" with Sue Bostrom (chief marketing officer) and Charles Giancarlo (chief development officer).

(That's Skip MacAskill on the far left -- Cisco's analyst relations guy and official Analyst Day warmup act.)

These sessions don't get that edgy, as you might imagine -- although MacAskill did ask what they disagree on. (Giancarlo: "I've come to love the logo.")

They touched on the transformation of Cisco into a consumer brand, something Giancarlo has worked with closely as president of Cisco-Linksys LLC.

"We've always been designing for the IT manager. It's sort of like designing a PC operating system towards someone that prefers DOS," he said. Changing that thinking to a culture of creating simpler, more automated gear, "is a very big cultural challenge inside Cisco. It's probably one of our biggest challenges."

The thought of Cisco as a consumer company has captured the media's imagination -- Giancarlo said it's all they want to talk about these days. Cisco definitely strives to have the living room presence of a Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) or a Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), but it's going to take a while.

"While I don't expect us to be the equivalent of Sony any time soon, more and more we'll be in front of the user," Giancarlo said. "More and more people who should have no other reason to know Cisco will start to know us by interacting with out technology."

"I think you'll see a lot more about our plans there as we look into CES in January," Bostrom added.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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