Cisco’s Poor Appeal
“The lady doth protest too much.”
William Shakespeare, Hamlet
I (almost) cringed when I saw the news that Cisco was attempting to out-shout Gartner’s clearly presented research stating that the single-vendor network not only isn’t necessary, but in fact is the antithesis of a cogent IT strategy.
Even in a press environment where Cisco has traditionally thrived, the reader feedback was generally awful. Among the comments posted:
“Delightful watching Cisco squirm at being told the emperor has no clothes! Their house has had some problems that the marketeers now just can’t spin.”
“LOL Cisco still trying to justify their stratospheric prices? Building multi-vendor networks is decried as ‘tactical’ versus the ‘strategy’ of child-like dependence on a single vendor? Is Cisco now in the COMEDY business?!?! Cisco is behaving like a spoiled child, Gartner is right, and single-vendor dependence can’t be taken seriously as a strategy for acquiring anything the business needs, least of all critical IT.”
This has gone from bad to worse for Cisco. No IT category is immune from the competitive forces brought on by standards and commoditization. It’s only a question of time, and the larger the incumbent’s industrial girth the longer they can try to outlast the trend. But the trend is relentless… it will not be denied, and now Cisco’s seams have popped.
As an aside: It’s a strange irony that Cisco can’t control opinion because information flows freely these days… and it’s largely IP traffic flowing over old Cisco gear.
But back to the trends and Cisco’s behaviors:
1. Networking is now commoditized. Cisco’s P&L is finally demonstrating that. No amount of FUD will reverse this trend.
2. Virtualization & cloud change the game of what’s required from vendors. Those needs don’t match Cisco’s business model or product offerings.
Coming full circle to the opening part of this entry, this recent marketing propaganda from Cisco will dilute and dissipate as quickly as it came because it’s just not credible. But what will last is the continued change in networking, and the customers who take advantage of it will gain the most.
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