Quoted: Cisco’s John Chambers feisty during his last earnings call

“All this garbage about new players coming in, and software coming in, and white label killing our approach was entirely wrong.”

John Chambers during Wednesday’s earnings conference call, his last as Cisco’s CEO. Chambers, who was Cisco’s chief executive for 20 years, is retiring this summer.

Chambers had reason to be feisty in response to critics who have said the networking-gear maker risks being left behind in the age of the cloud and software-defined networking: The San Jose company reported third-quarter results that slightly beat Wall Street expectations. As Jeremy Owens wrote in Biz Break, profit rose nearly 12 percent and sales grew 5 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

There were weak spots: Sales in China and Russia declined. And its rising competitors include low-cost hardware makers from Asia, and other providers of cable companies’ video equipment.

The quote above may indicate hostility toward emerging technology, but Cisco is now also selling software-defined network technology packaged with hardware.

The company’s “scale and breadth are extremely hard to replicate,” Amitabh Passi, an analyst at UBS, told the New York Times.

Come July 26, Chambers will become Cisco’s executive chairman and Chuck Robbins will become CEO.


Photo of John Chambers from AFP/Getty Images


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  • America_Is_Exceptional

    When Chambers joined Cisco, he was found of saying that large competitors, like IBM, were ignoring reality and that Cisco would “deal with the world the way it actually is not the way we’d like it to be” – which Cisco successfully accomplished, leading to their domination of the networking industry. Unfortunately, after so many years of having the financial media, his sycophantic board, his circle of “yes-men” direct reports, etc. never publicly question him, Chambers has come full circle to become what he once called out.