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Entrusting Cisco could cost you

Pattern of bid influence and involvement results in millions spent, loss of buyer cred

By Jim Duffy on Tue, 02/26/13 - 11:09am.

The State of West Virginia wasting millions by buying way more router capacity than needed; California State University saving $100 million through a competitive bid while San Jose State pays more for its own network than the entire university system through a non-bid contract; the City of San Jose canceling an $8 million upgrade after discovering the vendor's penmanship all over the contract.

These are examples of a pattern of the curious amount of involvement and influence Cisco has in actually defining the bid for its customers. And there are likely scores more in all of the contracts "awarded" to Cisco between 2004, when San Jose determined that Cisco actually wrote portions of the contract for the $8 million City Hall upgrade, and this month, when West Virginia auditors blasted the vendor and state officials for the bloated $24 million investment in model 3945 branch routers.

West Virginia concluded Cisco showed "a wanton indifference" to the public interest in allowing - even encouraging - the state to buy millions of dollars more router juice than it needed. The seized bounty was a large chunk of federal stimulus funds West Virginia received for a broadband buildout.

State auditors also scolded West Virginia officials for using a "legally unauthorized" purchasing process and a reliance on Cisco "goodwill" to enable the drastic overcharge/spend.  The auditors determined that a competitive bid process, like that enacted by California State University last year,