|By Fuat Kircaali||
|March 14, 2009 07:12 AM EDT||
Cisco's January sales were down 20% from a year ago. Its customers are holding off their purchasing decisions under the current economic climate. The only growth potential the company has today is in the virtualization market, which is expected to increase by more than 40% in 2009.
Cisco is not exactly a software company. Like Dell they need to come up with a sustainable proposition for their customers. So far what we have seen from Cisco is a virtual router. The word on the street is that next week they are expected to announce their game plan, perhaps a virtualization product and solutions portfolio in partnership with VMware. Cisco owns 2% of VMware. The big chunk of VMware is owned by its parent EMC. The only meaningful way for Cisco to get a sizable chunk of the Virtualization market in the long run would be through acquiring EMC.
The public statements by the EMC CEO last week about how much EMC cares about VMware could be a possible indication that Cisco might have already approached EMC about how much synergy exists between the two companies. (In plain English this translates into: "We need your toys to grow Cisco's business and we have enough cash in the bank to buy you. What do you say, shall we sit down and talk about this?")
One suggestion to "Mr. Nice Guy John Chambers" would be to have a breakfast meeting with Larry Ellison before his romantic dinner with EMC's Joe Tucci. The drama which comes out of Ellison's bloody approach to these matters is always more fun to watch. They can of course still put together an attractive retirement package for Tucci as the two Microsoft cronies Paul and Tod really move to the driver's seat and the spotlight they have been waiting for under John Chambers.
Hey you never know, if the virtualization business really takes off then Paul can make a move to Chambers' seat. We have seen this happen many times in history, Mitchell Kertzman taking over the helm at Sybase from its founder Mark Hoffman after Sybase's Powersoft acquisition is one of them. :-)