Cisco Systems, Inc. history, profile
Cisco Systems, Inc. designs, manufactures, and sells Internet Protocol-based networking and other products related to the communications and information technology industry and provides services associated with these products. It provides a broad line of products for transporting data, voice, and video within buildings and across campuses. Cisco’s current offerings comprises of the following categories: Switching, Next-Generation Network (NGN) Routing, Service Provider Video, Collaboration, Data Center, Wireless, Security, and Other Products. Switching is an integral networking technology used in campuses, branch offices, and data centers. Switches are used within buildings in local-area networks and across great distances in wide-area networks. Switching products offer many forms of connectivity to end users, workstations, IP phones, access points, and servers and also function as aggregators on local-area networks and wide-area networks. NGN technology is fundamental to the foundation of the Internet. This category of technologies interconnects public and private wireline and mobile networks for mobile, data, voice, and video applications. Service Provider Video delivers entertainment, information, and communication services to consumers and businesses around the world. Collaboration portfolio integrates voice, video, data, and mobile applications on fixed and mobile networks across a wide range of devices and endpoints, including mobile phones, tablets, desktop and laptop computers, and desktop virtualization clients. Cisco’s Unified Data Center unites computing, networking, storage, management, and virtualization into a single, fabric-based platform designed to increase and simplify operating efficiencies and provide business agility. Wireless access via wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) is a fast growing enterprise technology with companies and public institutions across the globe investing to provide indoor and outdoor coverage with seamless roaming for voice, video, and data applications. Security portfolio of products and services offers identity, network, and content security solutions designed to enable customers to reduce the impact of threats and realize the benefits of a mobile, collaborative, and cloud-enabled business. Cisco’s Collaboration portfolio integrates voice, video, data and mobile applications on fixed and mobile networks across a wide range of devices and endpoints from mobile phones and tablets to desktops, Macs and laptops to desktop virtualization clients. Cisco Systems was founded by Sandra Lerner and Leonard Bosack on December 10, 1984 and is headquartered in San Jose, CA.“
“Cisco Systems History
1984–1995: early years
Cisco Systems was founded in December 1984 by two members of Stanford University computer support staff: Leonard Bosack who was in charge of the computer science department’s computers, and Sandy Lerner, who managed the Graduate School of Business’ computers.
Despite founding Cisco in 1984, Bosack, along with Kirk Lougheed, continued to work at Stanford on Cisco’s first product which consisted of exact replicas of Stanford’s “Blue Box” router and a stolen copy of the University’s multiple-protocol router software, originally written some years earlier at Stanford medical school by William Yeager — a Stanford research engineer — which they adapted into what became the foundation for Cisco IOS. On July 11, 1986, Bosack and Kirk Lougheed were forced to resign from Stanford and the university contemplated filing criminal complaints against Cisco and its founders for the theft of its software, hardware designs and other intellectual properties. In 1987, Stanford licensed the router software and two computer boards to Cisco.
In addition to Bosack, Lerner and Lougheed, Greg Satz, a programmer, and Richard Troiano, who handled sales, completed the early Cisco team. The company’s first CEO was Bill Graves, who held the position from 1987 to 1988. In 1988, John Morgridge was appointed CEO.
The name “Cisco” was derived from the city name, San Francisco, which is why the company’s engineers insisted on using the lower case “cisco” in its early years. The logo is intended to depict the two towers of the Golden Gate Bridge.
On February 16, 1990, Cisco Systems went public (with a market capitalization of $224 million) and was listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. On August 28, 1990, Lerner was fired; upon hearing the news, her husband Bosack resigned in protest. The couple walked away from Cisco with $170 million, 70% of which was committed to their own charity.
Although Cisco was not the first company to develop and sell dedicated network nodes, it was one of the first to sell commercially successful routers supporting multiple network protocols. Classical, CPU-based architecture of early Cisco devices coupled with flexibility of operating system IOS allowed for keeping up with evolving technology needs by means of frequent software upgrades. Some popular models of that time (such as Cisco 2500) managed to stay in production for almost a decade virtually unchanged—a rarity in high-tech industry. Although Cisco was strongly rooted in the enterprise environment, the company was quick to capture the emerging service provider environment, entering the SP market with new, high-capacity product lines such as Cisco 7000 and Cisco 7500.
Between 1992 and 1994, Cisco acquired several companies in Ethernet switching, such as Kalpana, Grand Junction, and most notably, Mario Mazzola’s Crescendo Communications which together formed the Catalyst business unit. At the time, the company envisioned layer 3 routing and layer 2 (Ethernet, Token Ring) switching as complementary functions of different intelligence and architecture—the former was slow and complex, the latter was fast but simple. This philosophy dominated the company’s product lines throughout the 1990s.
In 1995, John Morgridge was succeeded by John Chambers.
1996–2009: Internet and silicon intelligence
The phenomenal growth of the Internet in mid-to-late 1990s quickly changed the telecom landscape. As the Internet Protocol (IP) became widely adopted, the importance of multi-protocol routing declined. Nevertheless, Cisco managed to catch the Internet wave, with products ranging from modem access shelves (AS5200) to core GSR routers that quickly became vital to Internet service providers and by 1998 gave Cisco de facto monopoly in this critical segment.
In late March 2000, at the height of the dot-com bubble, Cisco became the most valuable company in the world, with a market capitalization of more than US$500 billion. In November 2011, with a market cap of about US$94 billion, it is still one of the most valuable companies.
Meanwhile, the growth of Internet bandwidth requirements kept challenging traditional, software-based packet processing architectures.
The perceived complexity of programming routing functions in silicon, led to formation of several startups determined to find new ways to process IP and MPLS packets entirely in hardware and blur boundaries between routing and switching. One of them, Juniper Networks, shipped their first product in 1999 and by 2000 chipped away about 30% from Cisco SP Market share. Cisco answered the challenge with homegrown ASICs and fast processing cards for GSR routers and Catalyst 6500 switches. In 2004, Cisco also started migration to new high-end hardware CRS-1 and software architecture IOS-XR.
2006–2012: The Human Network
As part of a massive rebranding campaign in 2006, Cisco Systems adopted the shortened name “Cisco” and created “The Human Network” advertising campaign. These efforts were meant to make Cisco a “household” brand—a strategy designed to support the low-end Linksys products and future consumer products (such as Flip Video camera acquired by Cisco in 2009).
On the more traditional business side, Cisco continued to develop its extensive enterprise-focused routing, switching and security portfolio. Quickly growing importance of Ethernetalso influenced the company’s product lines, prompting the company to morph the successful Catalyst 6500 Ethernet switch into all-purpose Cisco 7600 routing platform.However, limits of IOS and aging Crescendo architecture also forced Cisco to look at merchant silicon in the carrier Ethernet segment. This resulted in a new ASR9000 product family intended to consolidate company’s carrier ethernet and subscriber management business around EZChip-based hardware and IOS-XR. Cisco also expanded into new markets by acquisition—one example being a 2009 purchase of mobile specialist Starent Networks that resulted in ASR5000 product line.
Throughout the mid-2000s, Cisco also built a significant presence in India, establishing its Globalization Centre East in Bengaluru for $1 billion, and planning that 20% of Cisco’s leaders would be based there.
However, Cisco continued to be challenged by both domestic Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper Networks and overseas competitors Huawei. Due to lower-than-expected profit in 2011, Cisco was forced to reduce annual expenses by $1 billion. The company cut around 3,000 employees with an early-retirement program who accepted buyout and planned to eliminate as many as 10,000 jobs (around 14 percent of the 73,400 total employees before curtailment). During the 2011 analyst call, Cisco’s CEO John Chambers called out several competitors by name,including Juniper and HP.
On 24 July 2012, Cisco received approval from the EU to acquire NDS (a TV software developer) for USD 5 billion. This acquisition signaled the end of the “The Human Network” strategy as Cisco found itself backing off from household hardware like Linksys and Flip into the cloud and software market.
2013–Present: The Internet of Everything
Cisco launches its first global re-branding campaign for the first time in six years with its “TOMORROW starts here” and “Internet of Everything” advertising campaigns. These efforts were designed to position Cisco for the next ten years into a global leader in connecting the previously unconnected and facilitate the IP address connectivity of people, data, processes and things through cloud computing applications and services.
On July 23, 2013, Cisco Systems announced a definitive agreement to acquire Sourcefire for $2.7 billion.
On August 14, 2013, Cisco Systems announced it is going to cut 4,000 jobs, which is roughly 6% of the company, starting in 2014.
Cisco is opening an Internet of Everything research centre in Toronto, Ontario.
Cisco Systems has seen a huge drop in export sales because of spying fears from the American National Security Agency using backdoors in its products.”