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“Our largest competitor, focused on not having open standards and interoperability, plays to a huge advantage for us,” Chambers said. Just different phones can support a call, “same thing with video. You’ve got to be able to across the whole (suite) in collaboration.
“I do think they made a mistake on interoperability, which is what they demanded (from us) with Tandberg,” Chambers said, referring to Cisco’s multibillion dollar videoconferencing acquisition in 2009.
Cisco has often referred to video as “the next voice.”
On other topics, Chambers addressed an inquiry on Cisco’s leadership succession plan, or who’s next to head the company after Chambers. He said Cisco will not falter when it comes time to tap and new CEO.
“Well run companies always have succession plans,” he said. “This is my family. Cisco won’t have a stumble. We’ll make sure that transition goes very, very well.”
On competition, he and Lloyd both dismissed Alcatel-Lucent’s new core router, the 7950 XRS, as another edge router. Alcatel-Lucent usually flip flops with Juniper as the No. 2 or No. 3 edge router vendor to Cisco.
“The core router they announced is an edge router,” Lloyd said. “It has no scale, no multichassis capability. They’re looking for a plank of innovation” in the face of financial difficulty.
On the market adjacencies Chambers used to boast about during his keynote addresses as recently as 18 or 24 months ago – 30+ such adjacent opportunities – Cisco has become much more focused so they’re not mentioned anymore.
“We took on too many opportunities, we cast our net a little too wide,” he said. “We needed to combine those projects earlier” to avoid overlapping groups in the same products areas, like switching, routing, etc.
Cisco is now focused squarely on its five market priorities: routing, switching and services; collaboration; data center virtualization and cloud; video; and business process architectures, and on extending security and mobility across all of them. Chambers did, though, rattle off markets like smart grid and smart+connected communities as ancillary opportunities to the core five.
“We’re staying within our silos and then prioritizing,” Chambers said. “We’re a much more focused, hungry, competitive Cisco. The level of trust from customers has been the highest it’s been.”
And on recent reports that Cisco products are being sold into countries the US has barred such sales to – like Iran:
“We do not put products in countries we not supposed to be exporting to,” Chambers said. “Partners doing that will be terminated. There’s no gray here, the answer is no, no, no, and no.”
Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.