Cisco appears to have missed the newest market transition: Don't be evil

U.S. Rep Chris Smith, "Cisco, and Microsoft, have compromised both the integrity of their product and their duties as responsible corporate citizens."

Earlier this week Cisco announced it would further embrace China, then the very next day, heroically and gallantly in my opinion, Google announced it would fight cyber attacks that originated in China by potentially closing its operations there, while also refusing in the future to censor its search results that had long been mandated by China. Finally today in Forbes, Cisco (the largest information security vendor to corporate enterprises in the U.S.), made a comment that appears to address Google's battle with China:

"We are closely following recent industry discussions regarding censorship in China. But as Cisco is not a service or content provider and doesn't participate in the censorship of information by any government, we cannot comment regarding the specific cases of any of our industry peers."

Cisco's statement above is curious based on this transcript - page 2 (page 8 of the PDF) from a U.S. Congressional Hearing held on February 15, 2006:

According to Congressman Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey, Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations, presiding: "I believe that two of the most essential pillars that prop up totalitarian regimes are the secret police and propaganda. Yet for the sake of market share and profits, leading U.S. companies, like Google, Yahoo!, Cisco, and Microsoft, have compromised both the integrity of their product and their duties as responsible corporate citizens. They have, indeed, aided and abetted the Chinese regime to prop up both of these pillars, secret police and propaganda, propagating the message of the dictatorship unabated and supporting the secret police in a myriad of ways, including surveillance and invasion of privacy, in order to effectuate the massive crackdown on its citizens."

Leading Cisco's defense and quoted in the same hearing transcript - page 78 (page 84 of the PDF), Mark Chandler - Cisco's Senior Vice President and General Counsel testified:

"I will close with one observation. Legislation or other action which encourages governments to build their own Internets will reduce free expression. Last year, the Chinese authorities proposed a special standard to allow Chinese companies alone to manufacture certain equipment for accessing the Internet. Our Government resisted that proposal, and we urged continued action in that regard. The power of the Internet to expand free expression depends on there being one global Internet."

It's my opinion that Chandler's hearing testimony above certainly seeks to promote (with the aid of the U.S. Government), Cisco's equipment over Chinese company equipment (and just like gun manufacturers, Cisco certainly can't be held liable for how customers use Cisco equipment). Also in my opinion, Google's gallantry this week is not a spectacular publicity stunt, as evidenced by the following letter, dated almost six years ago: Letter from Google's Founders - Dated April 29, 2004 "An Owner's Manual" for Google's Shareholders (Page VI) Don't Be Evil Don’t be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served—as shareholders and in all other ways—by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains. This is an important aspect of our culture and is broadly shared within the company. Google is not a conventional company. Eric, Sergey and I intend to operate Google differently, applying the values it has developed as a private company to its future as a public company. We have a strong commitment to our users worldwide, their communities, the web sites in our network, our advertisers, our investors, and of course our employees. Sergey and I, and the team will do our best to make Google a long term success and the world a better place. Finally and most revealing in my opinion, BusinessWeek reported late this week that Dan Slane - Chairman of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, expressed his disappointment that more companies didn't stand up with Google against cyber attacks that originated in China:

"It’s all about profit, and I understand where the silence is coming from, but they are missing the long-term picture," Slane said in an interview. Chinese leaders' "end game is to extract as much technology out of American companies as they can, transfer that to their own companies and, when they feel those companies have reached a level of technical maturity, show the American companies the door."

What's your take, do you agree with me that Cisco appears to have missed the newest market transition, don't be evil?

BradReese.Com Cisco Refurbished - Enabling Affordable Cisco Networks Check with us, when you have failed Cisco equipment. We repair Cisco at the component level. Contact: Brad Reese

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