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The Almighty Buck

Cisco Eclipses Microsoft As 'Most Valuable Company' 225

Anonymous Coward writes: "'On an official basis on the Nasdaq, Cisco's stock closed up 1-9/16 at a record 79-3/8 while Microsoft eased 3/16 to 111-11/16. Based on those prices and on fully diluted stock totals from quarterly statements, Cisco ended the day with a stock market value of $579.2 billion, slightly ahead of Microsoft's $578.2 billion. On Thursday, Cisco briefly overtook Microsoft, earning the moniker of the most monied.' This is expected to continue. See NewsAlert's story for more details."

Stock evaluations are far from the only way to measure a company's worth, but they certainly are convenient. Cisco seems to have avoided much of the limelight (and searchlights) that Microsoft seems to lives beneath, though in a similar time period it's established a similar market dominance. Is it because Cisco doesn't live by "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish"?

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Cisco Eclipses Microsoft As 'Most Valuable Company'

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  • I am a sysadmin at a small company in upstate NY. We are about to enter the ASP market where are bandwidth needs will increase significantly. Currently we have our T1s and routing handled by Linux and Sangoma T1 cards, I would like to keep it this way but am concerned with Cisco's overall dominance of the market. Our Sangoma solution is extremely cheaper than going the Cisco route (no pun), and we have had absolutely NO problems with communicating over Frame Relay to our ISP using the Sangoma/Linux boxes. What are your guys thoughts? To give you an idea of the costs we were quoted over 7k for a Cisco/NAT/Firewall capable router setup. I did it myself for under a grand and a discarded Pentium system, and feel more comfortable managing Linux's Masq/IP Chains tools.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hard work? Hardly. All the trolls have really gone down in quality. Anyone can say linux sux, fuck off. But it takes real talent to come up with something as charming as the I like monkeys post (I found a URL for it, since /. seems not to have archived it, reply for URL).

    Where did all the creativity go? To the nazi goat fucker: if you were a 3rd grader, that would funny. Otherwise, it just plain stupid. It's not even decent flame bait.

    Maybe if you trollers had any godamn creativity, people wouldn't mind so much. But until then, FUCK OFF MORON, as you all like to say.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    (insert lame comment about "wouldn't it be cool to get Linux running on a cisco router" followed by an even lamer comment about "yeah, then we could have a beowulf cluster of cisco routers")
  • So where are the non-cisco implementations of EIGRP?

    (yes, I know that we should all be using OSPF instead anyway).
  • Lemme see if I got this straight: Compaq buys RAM from Micron, somehow certifies it (i.e. sticks a "Compaq" sticker on it, and runs a few diagnostics), and for this charges a 5x markup? And all for what? To amortize the cost of taking the blame away from Micron, even though Micron is still eventually the one to blame?

    (well, it was at least 5x for their DEC workstations).
  • Actually, I also think Cisco has decided to move to QNX for their OS, so if Linux on a router makes sense they could switch to it quite easily.
  • I've had similar happy experiences. In almost every company I've worked for, Cisco has been used as our gateway to the rest of the world. From time to time, problems have arisen (don't they always?) and every call to Cisco was a tech support dream... quick to respond, very comprehensive, and knowledgable.

    The Cisco guys seem to take pride in working with their customers (that is, the END USERS, not the distributors or any other middleman) when there's a problem and fixing it as quickly as possible, even going so far as to patch router OSes to accomodate your particular unusual requirements.

    I've used linux boxes as routers and such for low-intensity applications, and they work pretty good... but when I need to push big data reliably, Cisco is the only way to go IMO.

    With the majority of other admins I know out there having similar experiences and thinking the same way about Cisco, it's not hard to understand how they can be worth as much or more than MS and still have a good PR rep. Perhaps MS could learn a couple things from Cisco and make their customers happier.

    rickf@transpect.SPAM-B-GONE.net (remove the SPAM-B-GONE bit)

  • I recieved this service (as I stated in my original post) after I had purchased a router. My boss took care of the sales part.
    Undoubtedly, sales and support are two different departments. I have taken place in some nightmare tech support calls with other companies (gotten a reputaion at work from them too)with some totally unresponsive techs. The guys in the cisco tech department just seem to want nothing more than to make sure I get my dollars worth from the equipment I just bought. No support contract was purchased. It was just me cold calling their support line.

    thanks again.

  • Ya why does Microsoft still think it's a software-only company. I watched the BG interview on Larry King and BG said that Microsoft would never enter the hardware market (or something to that effect), but at that very moment there were Microsoft keyboards and mice on store shelves? Do they have a different definition of "hardware"?
  • even a mostly clueless network admin will pick their own IOS for their routers, cisco has a habit of installing whatever is their current IOS of the day on whatever you buy. if your network is built using the same routers it would seem to be a good idea to run the same IOS on all of them. cisco can pre-install them for you if you can't be bothered to tftp a new image, but please - you can't blame an outage caused by admin incompitance on cisco pre-loading a buggy software image.
  • I'm assuming you mean Cisco Powered Network, to qualify as a CPN the network has to be 80% cisco, they must purchase 5 million worth of gear a year and they must actively be training their staff on cisco equipment. Having spent the better part of the last decade building networks, I've yet to see cisco blame a problem on other peoples hardware before checking to make sure it actualy is another vendors hardware at fault. the discount structure with cisco isn't even worth looking at. unless you are buying 10million or more a year you can get better pricing from a reseller and as anyone who has any experiance purchasing things knows, as long as you have the cash, you can buy anything you want. a companys relationship with cisco can suck hard and they can still get equipment at deep discounts, they just need to buy through a reseller.
  • Linux based routers just can not compete with Cisco/Lucent/Nortel(bay) routers since they have almost no usefull network interfaces. How with a linux router can you deal with any large network connections? linux routers work just fine in a handful of situations, hell cabletron switches are much better than cisco switches, but cisco has as much marketshare as they do becouse they have a HUGE productline and they fit almost everyones networking needs. You can build anything from a 56k network to a OC48 sonet system using cisco (and some cerent) equipment. with linux you can build a firewall, a T1 router, a 56k router, and an ethernet router (tho don't try gig-ethernet and expect to push anywhere near 1000mbits)
  • Sure, but there are a couple of important differences between IOS and Windows.

    For one thing, IOS just keeps going and going and going. Cisco routers have the kind of uptime we expect from our Linux systems.

    IOS doesn't require constant upgrading. I've been installing routers for years, and some of those boxes have been running for that long without changing a thing. Set it and forget it.

  • I love my Sangoma cards. I've got three of them in service now. It takes me longer to get a closed-box router out of the packaging and connected than it does to get a Sangoma based Linux machine going.
  • I may be wrong... feel free to point it out... but...

    Market Value = (# of shares) * ( share price)

    So the 'value' is entirely in stock... which is reasonable, because companies use stock to buy things, like other companies.
  • Think of OS and Software as cars and roads as the networks. Now which one is more important the cars that allow us to travel on the roads or the roads that allow our cars to move from one place to another?

    http://theotherside.com/dvd/ [theotherside.com]
  • There's a big difference between designing microprocessors and wrapping plastic around rubber balls...

  • by WH ( 10882 )
    >Linux is the portable OS of all time, and can >scale from a PalmPilot to an AS400. No other >operating system can do that. Umm.. what about NetBSD? >Linux is the first OS to have over 10,000 >developers. Some people may not view thousands of kids as being beneficial to the integrity of a projects source code. Especially when the project lacks a formal code review process in all but the core.
  • by WH ( 10882 )
    Damn.. forgot the dang thing would munge the text.
  • As someone who works at cisco, I don't know where you got all your info. Some points:

    1) EIGRP etc are patented. True. We don't sue over patents. They are defensive (like when we were sued by Lucent 1-2 years ago) -- not offensive weapons used to prevent entry. Typically if someone has cool technology that they have patented, Cisco will swap patent rights with them. Seems fair to me, we developed a lot of cool stuff over the last decade.

    2) Saying IOS is kinda buggy is like saying linux is kinda buggy. That's a big freakin' code base!
    And there aren't nearly as many good testers and debuggers out there for IOS as for Linux. But I think you have conceded (and other posters on this thread confirm) that for the most part, IOS works and is pretty stable as long as you aren't doing crazy stuff. Of course, if you find a bug, it probably feels like the biggest bug ever to you, since it probably affects you. Also, we subscribe to release-early, release-often. 5.2.12(4) for release numbers anyone?

    3) Your 6-month project restriction comment. I have no idea where you heard that. Totally not true. Maybe that was one particular manager in one particular group. In any case, wouldn't you expect a company to hire a person to do a specific thing? It's not like we just bring you in and let you make things up... there's a plan and a strategy that has be executed on.

    4) Not everything runs IOS. Maybe some people don't know this but all the switches run something called CatOS (Catalyst OS). That's not IOS. It's another parallel OS designed for switches (not routers). Similar looking CLI, but different nonetheless.

    5) As far as only supporting Cisco equipment, again not true. For our FAEs, the only point is to get the customers network working. There are lots of stories of tech support fixing 3Com/Bay/Ascend/Livingston/Lucent/whatever gear to get the customer up and running. As others have commented, sometimes we don't make a piece of equipment for a specific purpose. We're not going to stop you from buying it, and we're going to support your network.

    6) Stomping on companies. Cisco has the advantage of providing the total picture. Cisco will stomp on companies that can provide only part of the picture, simply because they are limited. All these hot terabit-router startups, think about it. If you are UUNet, are you going to stick this router from a company with 100 people in the center of your backbone? Or would you rather have Cisco with 25000 employees, 3 world-wide 24x7 technical support centers, field-swap agreements, etc? What do you think happens?

    7) The DOJ. Why break up Cisco? We have to implement the same IEEE 802.3 Ethernet as everyone else... We implement the same T1/E1 signalling. If we don't, it won't work with your ISP/carrier/other business unit/whatever, and the customer will be angry. God forbid that the customer buys the whole kit and kaboodle from Cisco because it's one vendor to deal with who seems to be pretty competent. Oh, the horror!

    Cisco is a pretty cool place to work, all in all. I tend to agree with the poster that maybe we don't make the absolute _best_ equipment (or maybe we don't have it _first_), but what we make is pretty damn good, stable, and interoperable. And that is really what matters for most network ops folks. Plus, it's really nice to be able to think that most of the packets you push out to the internet go through something you worked on/built.
  • does this mean we can stop going Micro$oft and start saying Ci$co?
  • Actually, Cisco is worth lots because they are one of the few companies that has actually made any real money on the Internet. When people are bidding up the value of wells of red ink, it makes sense to invest in the real revenue stream.

    Come to think of it, the Internet as a whole has been totally overblown (to this point) as a profit center. Cisco's made money. Sun has made money. IBM has made money, but it's a fraction of their revenue stream. Same with Oracle. Microsoft has been giving away products just to hold market share. The ISP business is flat, and AOL just essentially divested itself and bought a movie studio. Netscape went under, and the PC hardware people (including Apple) are treading water. Not to mention the millions flushing down the toliets of ecommerce.

    The future looks bright, but the present is pretty gloomy (unless you are Cisco or Sun).
  • by bkocik ( 17609 )
    Ever met a Sun Certified Solaris Network Administrator?

    Pretty damn sharp bunch.


  • "The network IS the computer." Looks like Sun was finally proven correct..... and that the Microsoft marketing juggernaut has finally lost a battle. Oh, yeah, sure, this isn't a definitive Waterloo, but I think we can safely say that M$'s attempt to take over the Internet will fail, if it hasn't alreddie.

    Pohl's Law: Nothing is so good that somebody, somewhere, will not hate it.

  • Perhaps you would like to logon and discuss this further, but rather then stoop to name calling I will rather answer your retort. Unfortunately, I did not see that article in the WSJ last week but I definitely will go back and read it since I do have an online account with WSJ.

    Actually, I pull most of my information from various readings I do. Internet World, the aforementioned Network World, PC Week, VARBusiness, Reseller News, Interactive Week, Internet Week all of which I look through.

    Both of these details have been WIDELY reported within networking trade publications before the WSJ got around to commenting on them. These two facts are very easily verifiable and I would never portray them as my own research. Besides isn't the point to contribute all information so people can make informed decisions. Even taking your comments, how many people actually subscribe to the WSJ on Slashdot. Maybe instead of your witty retort you could have enriched us all with a copy of some of the articles main points instead of snapping back at me. Perhaps I could start sourcing all my comments in MLA format with a Works Cited page for your benefit. Ahhh, but you decided to logon as an Anonymous Coward and not show your true self even though your comments do.


    If you continue to think the way you always thought, you will continue to get what you always got. - Anonymous
  • by mindstrm ( 20013 )
    Wow. What breaking news. IT's what.. Sunday?

    Anyone who watches any of the stocks KNOWS that this happened last week. Wow. What great news.

  • I put all my money into CSCO on Monday, and sold on Friday :P


  • No, but it would be worth watching. Especially if they started doing closed-source projects.
  • And what was the hot news posted on WonkoSlice today?

    "IDcide provides security while you browse"

    Seems like this was post 5 DAYS AGO on /. !!!

    Hmmmm, change is definitely needed. ;)

  • Measuring the value of the outstanding stock doesn't tell you anything about the company except that people who buy and sell stock think the company is worth buying. That doesn't mean the company is actually growing or doing well, just that a bunch of people think it will be doing better in the future.

    Did you notice that the sales of some of the so-called smaller companies dwarfed Cisco? GM, GE, and many other companies are much larger, they just don't have as much outstanding stock.

    Also remember that a lot of Internet companies are currently overvalued by the market.

    This is essentially a fluff piece.

    Bolie IV

  • I agree with you about this but also does it really matter? You only really care if you own alot of Cisco and want to be richer than some who owns alot of Microsoft. :)

    Besides, what would be bigger news would be when Microsoft passed GE in market cap.
  • What amazes me is that not only was this article "great news" to you, it was so "great" that you even replied to it!

    If you already heard the story, then go onto the next one. I don't see people writing in to newspaper editors complaining that they saw an article that had some information they already knew.

    If you don't care about MS and Cisco and/or their respective values, go ready a different story! Why even bother going "Read More" on it, let alone "Reply"?
  • And totally pointless.
  • Probably because Fore kit uses NT as an OS!! The last Firm I was working for got me to look at them, and I recommended against it for this reason.

    NT as a frickin OS for an infrastruture device, doh!
  • And you would believe how insecure a Cisco router ships, even at IOS 12.0!
  • I guess this means Microsoft is on its way down now, right ? Wrong.

    What was this purpose of this article? I was aware of this Friday. I thought this was a news site...not a stock ticker.

  • keyboards, mice, joysticks, speakers etc... do NOT constitute hardware. Those are peripherals, things that are external add-ons to your computer to make it more cozy. Hardware would be the things that are inside of the beige box that is sitting next to you (or if you have a Sun or SGI, the purplish-blue/indigo box....Im not here to list every possible color of comptuer cases). Microsoft apparently does have a different definition of hardware.

    The X-box could arguable be an example of MS hardware, but I dont believe that they are the OEM of that machine, and besides, it is more of a dumbed down PC, designed to play games than a piece of hardware IMHO.
  • I think that is a very geek centric viewpoint to think Cisco is some mysterious company. Almost 50% of Americans have some involvement in the stock market, and Cisco has been one of the 3 highest valued companies for a couple years now. Just a few days ago, my oral surgeon wanted to talk shop about the networking industry after I mentioned I am a system administrator.

  • AAhhh! Yes, that is what I was talking about. I have not yet been trained in configuring routers and such. I have just been told about the different protocols and market techniques. I was told you could nearly make them plug and play. Ah well, I guess I'll find out when I'm told to set one up:) We should be getting some new cisco routers into the lab for playing around. So.. I should be able to learn then:)
  • What I refer to as Linux is more than the kernel. When Microsoft talks about Winodws being innovative, they're talking about more than the kernel - they're talking about IIS, Terminal Services, the GUI, Management interface, SMS, and a whole heap more.

    It might not be technically correct to refer to typical Linux apps as `Linux', but it's necessary for an apples-to-apples comparision. You can't compare one kernel to one kernel plus a thousand apps
  • Thousands of kids? Among others. The majority of typical open-source projects have VERY formal review processes, and most reject the overwhelming majority of patches submitted. Hence the existence of tools such as CVS, developed escpecially for the purposes of managing such development efforts.

    VNC was originally developed by US Telco AT&T. Sendmail originally started off as a couple of hackers, but is not administered by Sendmail corporation, submitting contributions from 14 year old genuises to major corporations, and rejecting all but the few. Projects like Apache and WINE have contributions from major corporations.

    Remember, Cisco started out as some undergraduates too, as did most IT players [yes, even Bill was stealing spare cycles at Harvard for his efforts].

    If anything, having the code publicly auditable but controlled by the code-nazis who run most OSS projects is a major advantage. Would anyone dream of using unpublished encryption algorithms?

    The proof is in the code, in your uptime, and in the markey share of these products [Apache, BIND, etc].
  • The Linux innovation is bringing a rock-solid OS onto commodity hardare at an affordable price.

    And doing so in a manner that total NT heads like me [whose only been using Linux around one and a half years] can get to grips with, and administer in a way we're accustomed to [ie, with a cute graphical interface], without beaking Unix compatibility.

    Linux is the portable OS of all time, and can scale from a PalmPilot to an AS400. No other operating system can do that.

    Open source technologies [which, if yo were MS, you'd call aprt of the OS] are also innovative. AT&Ts VNC provides remote administration capabilities multi platform with full interaction and at better performance than most commercial products.

    Apache came out with many features MS replicated in IIS, and some MS have yet to replicate.

    Linux has had many MS inovations, such as Dynamic DNS, Kerberos, Filesystem Encryption, etc. for many years before Microsoft has.

    Linux has been 32 bit on Intel since it's birth. It was also the first IA64 bit OS.

    Linux is the first OS with publicly available source distributed udner a license where, so that one can, for example, remove every feature of my database server that's unnecessary and tune my machien so its completely dedicated to pumping out transactions as fast as it possibly can.

    Linux is the first OS to have over 10,000 developers.

    Please list your NT innovations.

    Mike MacCana
    MCSE+I and former NT admin
  • I dont know what they IPO'd for but they are up 94,168% over the last ten years... figure they IPO'd for $25, now it would be $23.5K, thats _sweet_

    Mark Duell
  • But the quote:
    "You'll probably see this shift in market cap continue," Cristinziano said referring to Cisco's market capitalisation.
    Seemed a little funny to me.
  • You on drugs? Cisco stock goves above Microsoft a wee bit and suddenly Mcnealy is correct?

    "The network is the computer" ha!

    Yeah, and without a network there's no computer right?
  • Am I the only one who danced a little jig when reading this?
  • A beowulf cluster of Cisco routers? Isn't that the internet?
  • I've found that kind of funny, as Cisco have been getting very bad press lately. The London Internet Exchange - the major networking hub in the UK has got totally fed up with them. Story here. [lightreading.com]
  • I read it differently. MSFT is overvalued, thus a fortiori investing in AOL is insane.
  • I think all this complaining about Slashdot being a bit behind on some of their stories is a little childish.

    Although their little slogan says "News for Nerds," I don't think it should be thought of as a traditional news site. It's far more a community for discussion and sharing of information, rather than a breaking story, first with the news place. And honestly, how many of the stories you see here are significantly less relevant even if they get posted 2 or 3 days after they could've been? The technology moves fast in this era, but not that fast.

  • EIGRP: Proprietary Cisco routing protocol CGMP: Proprietary Cisco multicast protocol IOS: Buggy piece of do-everything shit. It's like using NetBEUI when everyone is buying microsoft. Yes, we can deal with it. But we have to. We can throw EIGRP over OSPF, but that doesn't mean "it works together;" it means we have to make it work, or nobody buys our stuff.
  • A difference of $1 billion qualifies as being "slightly ahead,..."
  • I doubt the point was to insult Microsoft as much as it was to show the might of Cisco.
  • Cool! An international pissing contest!
  • Well, not until we know what the court's verdict on Microsoft will be :)
  • Hell, no! It would be a bitch to make a whole new set of logos and t-shirts! :)
  • Actually, Linux's true advancement is in the way its designed which makes it more stable, bug-free, and flexible. I think this gives it the potential to become waaaay more technologically advanced in the future, but I don't know how much ahead it is in advancements over other existing OSes...
  • All those aren't indicators of what investors think of it, though, its just what the reality of its situation is :) They're two different things most of the time.
  • by X ( 1235 )
    QNX is an embedded OS. Cisco is likely to throw away IOS because it's become a bulky, buggy, complex mess. QNX gives them a clean and tight implementation which runs on a variety of processors.
  • Well, imagine this: Say, one day, Yahoo goes "off the air" for three hours. The techs track it down to a router that had a flaky SIMM module. The flaky RAM module was put in by the manufacturer, who wanted to offer a low-cost product.

    That won't happen with Cisco hardware, or Sun hardware, or Network Appliance hardware, or equipment from any similar high-quality manufacturer.

    You see, the high-quality vendors qualify every component that goes into the system: every fan, connector, SIMM, disk drive, power supply, and even the on/off switch.

    They run these machines in special ovens, to test the overheating margins, in case a fan fails or the units are packed too tightly in the customer's rack or the air-conditioning fails. They check and recheck firmware revs, driver versions, and every software component as well.

    The goal is a bulletproof system that will run for years. And that is what you want, if you are Yahoo or Ebay or Charles Schwab.

    Customers are generally willing to pay the price for quality and reliability. Sure, the same disk drive may be available down at Fry's for one third the price. But if you buy it from Fry's, and it fails, the system vendor's guarantee doesn't apply. The disk drive that you bought at Fry's might have a different firmware level. Or maybe somebody returned that drive to Fry's and they repackaged it without noticing that the first buyer had bent one of the connector pins.

    I buy a lot of my personal hardware from friends, or from discount shops. But for business? never ... it just isn't worth the risk.

    I hope this helps ... a different set of values really do apply in these business-critical equipment purchases.
  • Only if Cisco will release the new Cisco Router 2000 that will only route packets to and from other Cisco Routers, and will require new cables to work.

    BTW, hey Homer. :)


  • As you can see, this was reported [wonko.com] on WonkoSlice [wonko.com] three days ago. I'm not saying Slashdot sucks, but change is definitely needed.


  • Yes, but if I really hated Cisco products, I could simply create a network based entirely on competing ones.

    The reason Microsoft's monopoly is so annoying to people is that the products have significant flaws people hate, and yet they use them anyway. This is a perverse result, no?

    As far as I can tell, most people in the networking biz love Cisco, so they keep on specifying Cisco, so there.

    Nothing wrong with that.


  • Pretty much every hardware company does this. I priced out 1GB of Compaq RAM for one of their fancy servers, and it was $ 7,800. VA Research charged me $ 2,400 for the same stuff when I bought it with their FullOn rack system.

    The only thing I wonder is, "How can they get away with this stuff?" And, if there is some reason or another to use their RAM, why isn't it creating obscene profits for the companies involved? Last time I heard, neither Compaq nor Cisco had 600% profit margins. Where does this 600% gross profit go?


  • The most appropriate definition (though not quite the only, most square with this) in this context is as follows:
    innovation n 1: a new device or process created by study and experimentation [syn: invention] 2: the creation of something in the mind [syn: invention, excogitation, conception, design]
    Source: WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University

    Most of your examples are either:
    a) Not true technological innovations (e.g., more incidental)
    b) Not Linux Innovations (e.g., linux just adopted)
    a) Simply not part of Linux. (e.g., Apache)
    The Linux innovation is bringing a rock-solid OS onto commodity hardare at an affordable price.

    Ok, calling this innovation is a bit of a stretch, since it was more incidental than anything else. But in either case, Linux was not the first. You may be too new to Unix to recognize this, but there were other free operating systems around for x86 well before Linux.(e.g., fbsd)

    Linux is the portable OS of all time, and can scale from a PalmPilot to an AS400. No other operating system can do that.

    There is disagreement over this fact, BSDs have been ported to a number of other platforms as well. The only difference is that Linux has a thousand more geek/fans who try to do such things, though how this helps most consumers is beyond me. I've been running Linux for about 5 years now, and the only other platform i'd consider running on is Alpha.

    Open source technologies [which, if yo were MS, you'd call aprt of the OS] are also innovative. AT&Ts VNC provides remote administration capabilities multi platform with full interaction and at better performance than most commercial products.

    VNC != Linux. VNC was developed by a commercial company, which was later open sourced. Also, VNC was far from the first graphical remote administration tool, about the only pertinent difference that I can think of is that it is client-stateless (which, incidently, isnt' new to PC, only for Unix)
    Linux has had many MS inovations, such as Dynamic DNS, Kerberos, Filesystem Encryption, etc. for many years before Microsoft has.

    ...many of which are not a core part of Linux. All of which Linux did not invent, or employ in particularly innovative ways.
    Linux has been 32 bit on Intel since it's birth.

    So what? No matter what platform you develop for, that platform is going to be your "first" platform--that is not innovation. Also, MS can make the same claims with all of their major OSs.
    It was also the first IA64 bit OS.

    This is hardly significant. IA64 is not exactly available yet. Being the "first" in this case is hardly significant because it's not the result of some technological hurdle, rather it's a race (if others really care) in which linux just happened to complete a few minutes before (e.g., Linux early finish hasn't lead the way for others by any means). I'm sure Linux's early finish is mostly due to the kernel's relatively miniscule size, though, what about all the other things which people demand in an OS. They'd hardly thank MS if they just ported their kernel, but nothing else. Furthermore, is being the "first" to port to a processor that is not yet available truely important? The question should be, who has the most effective OS (complete solution, as opposed to just kernel) when IA64 becomes widely available.
    Linux is the first OS with publicly available source distributed udner a license where, so that one can, for example, remove every feature of my database server that's unnecessary and tune my machien so its completely dedicated to pumping out transactions as fast as it possibly can.

    No, it was not. BSDs come to mind, amongst others. Speaking of databases, why is it that Linux doesn't have a single high quality open source/free database that can support transactions, procedural language, triggers, and the like? Hint: MySQL doesn't meet this criteria, despite it's other nice features for certain application.

  • When Microsoft talks about Winodws being innovative, they're talking about more than the kernel - they're talking about IIS, Terminal Services, the GUI, Management interface, SMS, and a whole heap more.

    The difference, of course, is Microsoft presumably caused those innovations to come about. The fact of the matter, though, is most of Microsoft's self-acclaimed 'innovations' are not the result of their hardwork or technical genius, but rather: trivial restating of existing technology, stolen technology from other companies, "acquired" technology (where some is bought on the up and up, while others are far from clean), and many other less such reasons. Put simply, it's a huge stretch to say MS innovates on the aggregate (though there are one or two "real" ones for every hundred "fake")

    Likewise, the existence or creation of Linux didn't even bring about or enable the existence of the vast majority of your "innovations". Nor, for that matter, did the Linux community collectively play an role in the development of these "innovations". In other words, put simply, if Linux were never "born", 99% of these would still exist the way they do now. There is nothing all that spectacular about Linux relative to its much earlier cousins that would enable this innovation you speak of (even theoretically, as opposed to empirically).

    Though the argument could clearly be reversed with great sucess for MS, I agree entirely that MS has in fact held back innovation on the aggregate. That being said, even though net effect is bad, they do have a few (very small number) "innovations" which they've caused to come about, despite their presence in the industry. My position is that those few real innovations MS can claim might, in fact, be more than the real innovations Linux can take credit for...which is not entirely suprising given the comparative size of the two "organizations" (using this term very loosly).

  • I know your comment was most likely mostly facetious, but...
    "miraculous rise of true technological advances over Microsoft, like Linux"

    Not that I'm a fan of MS, but I would hardly say call linux a "technological advance", let alone a miraculous one. While I know MS has done damn little in the way of real innovation, I bet you MS has done more to innovate than Linux (how many significant advances can you actually name that have come out of linux? as opposed to >5 year old technology for other unices and operating systems) has. That being said, for the purposes it serves, Linux more than makes up for it with decent design, relative lack of bugs, etc.

  • I highly doubt that Linux routers will make a noticable impact in Cisco's success. First off, in the vast majority of cases, routers are best left to embedded systems--there is no compelling reason to run a full blown operating systems, when all you need is a NOS. Secondly, in the few cases in which embedded solutions aren't appropriate, Cisco probably never had their attention anyways. Thirdly, "linux routers" have been around for a couple years now, there is no likely reason for anything to change from Cisco's hand to Linux routers'.

    That being said, Cisco is overvalued. Although Cisco will likely continue to grow and retain their market share, they're unlikely to grow at a rate that can justify a market capitalization of 500 billion.
  • GE, at $522.3 Billion. Now, GE is a conglomerate in just about every industry there is... I wonder if THAT'S a good thing vs. dominance in just one.

    Rent a Penske truck? You're paying GE. Aetna Health Insurance? Yep. NBC? Uh huh.

    However, I'd also note that Cisco also blew away most of their competition in the early 90s, such as Ascend, Bay et cetera. Sure, most of them are still around, but not in any real quantities to challenge Cicso.
  • Actually, I think he was thinking of CDP (Cisco Discovery Protocol) But, I can tell you that it makes Cisco routers FAR from plug-n-play. It simply allows Cisco routers to "see" each other across a working physical layer. If you plug two Cisco routers together acorss a corssover cable, and bring up the interfaces, they will see each other. At that point, everything still needs to be configured by hand. It simply allows you to see that everything is cool in the physical end.

    Basicly, if you configure routers, and they don't talk, but they can see each other via CDP, you know its your configuration and not the equipment or the connection.

    Plug-n-play, God, I wish.

  • Not really. Interested fact, even thought Cisco is the 500 pound gorilla of the networking market, Microsofts network is mostly Fore Systems based (now a Marconi company). Big people in the ATM market (which Cisco has NOT been known to be a real winner in till the past few years. Bay Networks/Nortel was really struggling in this market till they were bought by Nortel)
  • Uhh. Notice it said it CLOSED at more valuable than Microsoft. I MS had a bit of a boost in after-hours trading.. so what? The point was, at nasdaq close on friday, cisco was the leader.
    Do research? That was a direct quote from several news srouces.

  • Cisco is a monopoly? Well.. if everyone DOES use cisco hardware. The difference between Cisco and MS is the reasons WHY they use cisco hardware.

    Building a network out of cisco equipemnt (and yes, I've built many), nothing prevents you from using competitors equipment mixed in with it. NOTHING. Cisco is completely open about their protocols and standards. Cisco gear WORKS.
    I have never had cisco break interoperability, in fact, I find their routers and switches MORE flexible and configurable than anyone elses.
    And no, I don't work for Cisco.

    Can you cite some examples of cisco breaking interoperability? As far as I can tell, cisco has always been forthcoming with their standards. They succeed because their products rock.

    Even the allmighty LINUX cannot hold a candle to cisco when it comes to internetworking. Sorry.

  • As someone who worked for a start-up which made a product to augment Cisco equipment, I can honestly say that they are indeed a monopoly and their practices are often just as bad as Microsoft's. Cisco has totally locked up the enterprise networking market. Cisco uses proprietary protocols and prevents other companies from being compatible through patent protection. Protocols such as EIGRP, IGRP, and even PAgP are protected by patents, making interoperability by third parties impossible.

    For example, at the start-up I worked at (which was recently aquired), we made a router accelerator. This box required zero configuration and could sit in front of any router and offload all of the local traffic, switching it at wire speed. The neat part was that our box required zero configuration, just plug it in. Unfortunately, marketing was targeting the enterprise. No matter what we did we could not make headway. The problem was that often the customer would then ask Cisco about compatibility, to which Cisco would say something like "We don't know", which would immediately kill the sale. Our product was a fraction the price of the Cisco solution, and it required far less configuration time and better performance than the equivelent Cisco solution, but we couldn't sell it.

    All the other networking companies have basically abandoned the enterprise market to Cisco. Nortel and Lucent are out of the enterprise networking market. They are now fighting for the telco and ISP side of the business, where Cisco does not yet have a monopoly.

    I would not be surprised if after Microsoft is settled, the government looks into Cisco. I have no qualms about the government breaking up Cisco (after all, Cisco is nothing but a bunch of aquired companies since Cisco rarely invents something in-house).

    What does Cisco do right? They have excellent marketing and they have excellent support.

  • As someone who has been in the networking area for a while (designing router accelerator software, BRAS software, etc.) I can tell you that Cisco is just as bad as Microsoft.

    Cisco uses proprietary protocols and has patents protecting them. For example, EIGRP, a popular enterprise routing protocol, is Cisco proprietary and covered by a patent. Likewise, Cisco's Fast Etherchannel protocol, PAgP (Port Aggregation Protocol) is also patented. Since Cisco basically owns the enterprise market, it is impossible for anyone else to gain entrance, since there is no way they can interoperate with Cisco.

    Cisco makes good stuff, not great. IOS is klugy and somewhat buggy from some of the developers who've worked on it have told me. Cisco got where they are not so much through innovation as through purchasing any company that has a product that they don't have.

    In the Internet side, people are wary of using non-Cisco routers due to the finikyness of BGP. Cisco routers talk well with Cisco routers. Other routers can be questionable. The only reason Juniper is doing so well is that a bunch of people who worked on Cisco's BGP also wrote Juniper's BGP.

    Cisco isn't everywhere. They can't compete with Redback very well, and many parts of the Internet are not dominated by Cisco because they cannot keep up.

    While Cisco has many great engineers (of whom I know a number), their management is somewhat restrictive. For example, if you join Cisco, you are assigned your project for the first 6 months with no chance of working on what you want to do (or where your talent can best be appreciated). This is why start-ups often run circles around Cisco, only to be aquired by Cisco when they decide they need the technology.

    Cisco moves slowly due to IOS. Everything gets integrated into IOS. That way if they want a product with certain features, they just choose those features from the source tree. While this integration may sound nice, it makes maintanance difficult and adding new features difficult. Start-ups usually start with a clean slate (i.e. VxWorks) and don't have to worry about a bunch of baggage and can focus only on their ideas without worrying about breaking something else.

    Cisco is also known for their excellent support. Like IBM of old, though, they will only support Cisco equipment, providing a strong incintive to not use non-Cisco equipment in the network. Like IBM of old, though, you also pay for Cisco. Cisco equipment is not cheap, often costing 2-5 times as much as the competition, but because of the above they can still maintain an 85-90% market share.

    Cisco also plays hardball like Microsoft, you just don't hear about it because the end user doesn't see past his modem. Nobody sees the companies that Cisco stomps on.

    I suspect it won't be too long until the DOJ turns their eyes towards Cisco. Unlike breaking up Microsoft, breaking up Cisco would not be that big a deal since Cisco is nothing but a bunch of smaller companies that were aquired for their technology. Like putting together puzzle pieces, it isn't difficult to separate the puzzle into pieces later.
  • While M$ tweaks file formats on a regular basis to thwart compatibility with other packages, cisco's very founding was to provide interoperability among disparate networks. When they acquire a company, it's to get the technology, not to snuff them out. This "monopoly" doesn't worry me a bit!
  • If Microsoft keeps getting legal heat, their stock price will remain stagnant.

    MS stock was on a run Friday, based on a USA Today article that indicated a settlement could emerge over the weekend based on a new proposal MS was submitting Friday.

    The Justice has soundly rejected that offer as not going any way near far enough. As a result expect MS to drop as much as 10% (which will also pull the DOW down quite a bit).

    Judge Jackson is now expected to issue his rulling as early as Tuesday, and everyone is expecting a finding that MS violated the anti-trust act.

  • Damn damn damn I hate how stupid these analysis are sometimes. "Cisco's operating system will be the platform of the future"....NO! The network will be the platform of the future. Cisco has NO O/S ambitions, and I wish those analysits would understand that.

    IOS is an embedded operating system designed to run routers and little else. You can't run Apache on it. You can't run MS Office on it. You can't run thin clients on it. That's not the point. The point is to run a router. Cisco is a hardware company, not a software firm. If you don't know IOS is there, it's doing it's job.
  • ...that makes Bill Gate's share of microsoft ALONE worth around $133,000,000,000. Never mind anything else he owns.
    Matt Singerman
  • According to the Bill Gates Net Worth Page [quuxuum.org] he is currently worth about 87.9 billion in stock alone. Again, this is not counting other possessions.

  • In today's market Microsoft stock is severely undervalued. In a situation where other companies like Yahoo(194) and eBay(243) that have a higher debt load, substantially less income and yet have higher share prices is unfathomable. Fortune had a cover issue where they examined the rivalry between AOL and MSFT they broke but companies down this way.
    MSFT: Revenues $ 21 billion, net income $8.7 billion, cash & cash equivalents $13.3 billion and no long term debts.
    AOL: Revenues $32.8 billion, net income $2.4 billion, $3.7 billion and a long term debt load of $19.8 billion.

    The point of the above comparisons is to show that, with regards to most other tech companies Microsoft is extremely undervalued and brings immense return to investors. There is a dark cloud of uncertainty over the company especially with the DOJ verdict expected sometime this week but once this is over, expect Microsoft's market value to reflect it's worth as a company. Either way after the company is split up into mini-Bills or they are forced to release source code or divest IE from Windows the company the company's market value will rise. For those who think this news spells the end of MSFT need to look at the big picture and remember that few tech companies, if any are making as much profit or have as much cash as MSFT.

    PS: I am surprised by the amount of ignorance about the Tech Industry (CSCO's IOS is a Linux competitor?!? that most slashdotters are showing from their posts. It seems that if it isn't Linux or MSFT related some of us truly have our heads in the sand. This is a very sad and dangerous practice...
  • What if suddenly, one particular brand of Linux took over at 90% of the world's computers. Suddenly everyone used this brand of linux.. it would be a monopoly.

    But would it be bad just because of that?
    Don't underestimate the power of peanut brittle
  • It is not obvious to me whether or not the monopoly is harmfull in this case. Cisco, I understand, actually makes good products. But is that any consolation when they can lock out competition, charge arbitrary prices, and in the future stop making good products because, like MS, they don't _need_ to make good products, just new ones. As of yet most of this hasn't come to pass, but it is a possibility as it is with any monopoly.

    Cisco has several protocols that have Monopoly-Abuse potential. All of their switches talk to each other with ISL, proprietary to Cisco, and difficult to integrate with other brands of switch. (Although they do support an open standard as well)

    WCCP v2 is copyrighted by Cisco, and only available for their caching hardware and routers, so you can't use any of the cool transparent proxy features of it with squid.

    Cisco Discovery protocol is only used for .. you guessed it .. Cisco equipment.

    Sometimes bugs in Cisco software cause pain for other brands because "everyone else has no problems" connecting their Cisco gear to Cisco gear that works on a Cisco tweaked version of the standard. There are plenty of other areas in Cisco that make it incompatable with other vendors, but some of these features are useful things (like BGP community strings) that other brands simply need to catch up on.
  • Cisco may be a monopoly by market share. But they've done so pissing a lot less people off than Microsoft.

    Cisco is open with how their product works. Cisco products generally works with their competitions products and when it doesn't it's because their competitor's products are broken. Quite a few companies I've worked at have tried to replace Ciscos with competitors products and most have failed. Cisco has a nice product line overall. Carefull, ocassionally they buy a competitor and sell a product under there name that does not hold up to my opinion of Cisco quality.

    The number one reason I've seen competitors products fail is that they don't do buffering nearly as well as Ciscos. Ciscos have nice buffers.

    Though, if you've seen the code for Cisco IOS you begin to think it's a miracle that it works at all! Although, I could say that about the code I've seen for many high quality products (let's push all the registers onto the stack. Again, and oh heh, why not one more time in a different order. Function call. Let's pull off the stack, how many times, in what order? - That wasn't from Ciscos.)

    Cisco is a big company but it is rare to find people pissed off at them. Overall the people I've known who work there are also quite happy with the company. I guess they have to be, otherwise more people would be successful at stealing Cisco employees which are in high demand.
    Cisco overall does a good job of training its employees.
  • True, Cisco does have a huge monopoly, and does use it to increase their sales. My experience is that EVERY net hardware company tries to leverage every edge they have got. It is a very competitive market.

    As for Cisco's protocols, I believe that you are referring to EIGRP, which is an extension of IGRP. This does not mean that either is enabled by default, though. Both are very easy to set up. The EIGRP, however, is not a closed protocol, but is not implemented by other vendors because it is not an accepted standard (oh, something with Cisco creating it, I think ;). However, most routing equipment (including Cisco's) also supports IGRP, which functions much the same way, but is less robust in some aspects. NONE of this is plug n play, BTW. You are still given multiple opportunities to destroy equipment and fsck-up networks through ignorance.

    This does not prevent anyone from entering into the arena...Foundry, Alteon, Extreme, Juniper, Lucent, 3Com, Bay, F5 Labs, and others are ALL gaining market share of the ever expanding 'net. And ALL of them are more than willing to buy your Cisco equipment and replace it with their *generally* less expensive equipment. Exodus Communications went over to Foundry in that fashion (this is not insider stuff, they announced it).

    Interoperability is the only issue at that point.
    The problem with ALL of the vendors is that sometimes they have their own interpretation of even the basic standards of a protocol for implementation. This does not mean that it is deliberate, but it can cause problems that have to be resolved by possibly weeks of sitting on the phone with staff from both sides and working out a fix (and, yes, Cisco and the others WILL do this, just not that often). I think most of these companies realize that lack of interoperability of internetworking equipment is bad, and to try and fix known issues.

    As for feature sets of the IOS, I can say that most other vendors go out of their way to copy it- being that it is based on a VERY unix-like shell interface. This is one of the big reasons why Cisco jumped ahead of the pack. The other reason was that they moved to cover EVERY segment of the market before everyone else, and combined the two events with an inexpensive, easy to use and fully supported entry-level product. This is a springboard into their larger systems which use the same interface and most of the commands. Essentially, their entire marketbase is easy for a new netadmin to enter and quickly ramp up in terms of knowledge and skills. Its a reciprocal arrangement which I have not seen their competitors reproduce, in spite of many of them having better product.

    My only issues with Cisco are the quality of their support (which sucks unlesss you can intimidate their TAC into transferring you to someone clueful) and their bugs- the 11.x syslog bug was a doozy; the PIX ftp security bug isn't quite as bad, but there; other intraoperability bugs that I have found but are not yet documented are also serious. This does not mean other vendors don't have issues, but Cisco seems to have more of them (Foundry had a nmap scan crash bug, also nasty). I think the bottom line is that Cisco made itself into the baseline standard across the board. If you can become the overall baseline standard, it is easier to grow market share without having to excel in any one area.

  • by Camelot ( 17116 ) on Sunday March 26, 2000 @11:25AM (#1169726)
    There are other hardware companies waiting to eclipse Microsoft, as far as market cap is considered. If Microsoft keeps getting legal heat, their stock price will remain stagnant.

    There are a number of other hardware companies that may eclipse Microsoft in the near future: Intel, NTT Docomo and Nokia. Granted, the value of the latter two is only about half of that of Microsoft.. but if the growth rate of the companies remains the same (for example, both Cisco and Nokia grew 1200% in the last 3 years, whereas Microsoft grew "only" less than 400%), the shift will happen.

  • by Issue9mm ( 97360 ) on Sunday March 26, 2000 @12:47PM (#1169727)
    Actually, the internet comes from Windows. Didn't you know that??? Duh. In fact, Windows 98 includes Internet version 5.

    If you don't believe me, then go here [microsoft.com] and find out for yourself.

    See, users with Windows 98, and I'm assuming 2000, don't need routers, phone lines, ethernet, modems, or any of that mess. Just get some of that power out of the wall, and watch it go.

  • by bevonovo ( 122430 ) on Sunday March 26, 2000 @11:19AM (#1169728)
    In the mid-90s, prognostication went along the lines that hardware makers, in a commodity business, were on the way out. It was important to "own the OS". However, with the success of open source (Linux/BSD/Darwin), enabled no doubt by the internet, the landscape has changed to hardware and service being the foci of promise. Can anyone say: IBM stinks? Right: I believe Microsoft stinks (in the long term...but that's why they are building PCs called X-box).
  • by JDax ( 148242 ) on Sunday March 26, 2000 @11:57AM (#1169729)
    Cisco is a monopoly as huge as Microsoft. Fewer people are aware, because it involves the 'invisible' part of computer usage that most of us take for granted. But because of their market share, Cisco can and does gleefully break interoperability. Their machines don't need to work with anyone else's machines. But if you aren't Cisco, your machines had damn well better work with Cisco's, or you won't have any customers.

    This is an interesting comment that is true. &nbsp Although where I work has gone for the "cheaper" 3COM router solution, most everywhere has forked up the $$$ to buy Cisco products.

    It is not obvious to me whether or not the monopoly is harmfull in this case. Cisco, I understand, actually makes good products. But is that any consolation when they can lock out competition, charge arbitrary prices, and in the future stop making good products because, like MS, they don't _need_ to make good products, just new ones. As of yet most of this hasn't come to pass, but it is a possibility as it is with any monopoly.

    I think the issue alot of us (and Judge Jackson) had with Microsoft as a monopoly was not so much its marketshare (which it's had for some time on the desktop) but its business practices. &nbsp And this included forcing the "bundling" of their software on every PC sold (although for awhile, there wasn't much choice other than OS/2 or maybe Be or some of the smaller OSs), blah, blah, I think everyone by now knows the story.

    If Cisco shows it has its marketshare based on a quality (albeit expensive) product and people buy it, then what can you say?

  • by Hrunting ( 2191 ) on Sunday March 26, 2000 @02:53PM (#1169730) Homepage
    Cisco is a monopoly as huge as Microsoft. Fewer people are aware, because it involves the 'invisible' part of computer usage that most of us take for granted. But because of their market share, Cisco can and does gleefully break interoperability. Their machines don't need to work with anyone else's machines. But if you aren't Cisco, your machines had damn well better work with Cisco's, or you won't have any customers.

    It's not uncommon for monopolies to exist in infrastructure environments (take the phone company, the electric company, the water system, the cable company, the list goes on, at least in the US). This is because those organizations tend to deal in a highly standardized environment where it pays if everyone's working on the same sheet. I would honestly hate to have more than one or two companies managing the power grid in my city. The possibilities for some sort of mishap increase, as does the cost as each company has to maintain its own network.

    With that said, Cisco happens to have a good grip on the hardware implementation of one of these infrastructures and what's keeping them there is a) an excellent product, b) good marketing and c) interrelated systems. However, Cisco would have a hard time locking people out of the router business with changes in their product. They're still dealing in standard protocols when communicating between machines. Cisco routers will work just fine with 3Com Total Control units and hubs because nothing special is happening with the data. When the machines work in parallel, yes you want them to be the same and intercommunicate, but Cisco doesn't need to do anything to lock people out because you generally don't want many different setups doing the same task anyway (look at the pain in the ass handling both K56 and x2 was). The fact that Cisco makes a superior product is primarily what keeps it in control. You can bet, though, that if their work started becoming shoddy, ISPs would jump ship to the next best alternative, and they can because of those common protocols.
  • by stripes ( 3681 ) on Sunday March 26, 2000 @02:57PM (#1169731) Homepage Journal
    One really cool thing about Cisco is that their IOS isn't all copyrighted - Juniper and Redback both use large parts of Cisco's software on their equipment, and the interfaces work the same way.

    IOS is quite copyrighted, and if Cisco thought Juniper or Redback used any IOS code they would sue in half a heartbeat.

    IOS's "look and feel" isn't copyrighted. Which is good, since it is pretty much the TENEX LnF anyway. Juniper made their product have a similar LnF because the coustmer base allready has Cisco experiance, and maybe because many of the original Juniper folks were ex-Cisco folks. Redback did the same LnF because they figured the customers would expect it. Redback also added "virtual routers", which they are very proud of.

    Thhe other thing about networking equipment, it has to obey the protocol. Cisco hasn't gone out and written it's own version of IP, frame relay,[...]

    Cisco has gone and done their own Frame-Relay like Framing ("Cisco HDLC"), their own ethernet VLAN stuff. But I don't beleve it was done for "embrace and extend" reasons. Their VLAN stuff was out before 801.Q was a standard. Their HDLC is much lighter weight then Frame Relay.

    But it's not all rosey. They have patented their "Hot Swap IP address" thing (I forget if it is two machines that share a ether MAC, or if they both have a MAC and the third MAC is passed between them). That's right patented.

    Cisco hasn't shot itself in the foot yet, and I doubt they intend to. In contrast to Microsoft, Cisco has become the networking giant because their products actually work. Redback and Juniper have come into the game in niche positions, and Cisco has left them there, rather than trying to kill them off.

    Cisco has left Juniper in the "super fast super dense router niche" because they can't dislodge them. I don't know if that is because they see selling an ISP-only router (few non-nationwide ISPs need an M40 let alone an M160), or if the BFR really is the best they could do.

    Similar with Redback, they just didn't have a product that worked as well in that space last year, and I don't know how hard they are trying.

    Now both of these things may be sound bisness moves. Being the biggest-baddest-router is a lot like being a SuperComputer, and you will note few SuperComputer componies make the really big bucks. There is much more money in selling PCs, or even "wussy little Unix things like the Sun E10K".

  • by spiral ( 42436 ) on Sunday March 26, 2000 @11:39AM (#1169732)
    >Is it because Cisco doesn't live by "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish"?

    No, it's because pipes aren't glamorous and routers aren't sexy. Everyone who uses a computer has seen Windows; it's always right there in your face. As a result, MS is a household word. On the other hand, most people don't have a clue how data gets from A to B. Come on, some people still think electricity just comes out of the wall.

    Cisco is worth lots because they're BIG. They have a set of TV ads on the go right now with a tagline something like 'almost all Internet traffic travels over a Cisco product at one point or another'. Anything Internet is a huge growth industry, and as their propaganda will tell you, they're "the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet".

    They're low profile because the end user doesn't give a damn; the Internet just comes out of the wall and into their computer.
  • by z4ce ( 67861 ) on Sunday March 26, 2000 @12:33PM (#1169733)
    As I recently began working for a company that does a lot of networking diagnosis, implementing, whatnot, I have began to realize that Cisco has a huge monopoly and DOES use it to increase their sales. Only instead of breaking everyone elses protocols, they just make their protocols "plug and play" if you will. You plug them into a network, they automagically talk with the other routers to setup routes. I forget the name of the exact protocol it uses; however, it is properiety. By closing that protocol no one else can enter cisco arena. So, you have a network built with cisco routers, are you going configure the whole thing to use a open protocol that is not plug 'n' play just to get a cheaper 3com router? It's going to have be WAY cheaper.

  • by el_guapo ( 123495 ) on Sunday March 26, 2000 @01:56PM (#1169734) Homepage
    and I mean a TON of them (literally thousands) I can tell you a few things. * They make pretty good stuff * They have no qualms about yanking the carpet out from under you future support-wise (i.e. totally dropping an architecture thus necessitating a sooner than expected hardware upgrade) * They WAY overprice commodity stuff. For instance, when we did some wide-ranging "Y2K" upgrades reccomended by them, I took my $600.00usd Cisco 64MB DRAM DIMM and stuck it in my workstation - worked fine. I then did the opposite, fine as well. * They seem to be EOL (end-of-life) happy. Just when a model starts getting established in our network (as big as it is it takes a while) they will start the EOL process on the friggin thing. * They have EXCELLENT uptime. I can't ever think of one of these (despite literally being a computer/OS) hanging, and we have some of these (those in locations not requiring following their dizzying upgrade path) with uptimes measured in _years_. The ones with uptimes NOT measured in years are that way through no fault of Cisco's (well, I guess "technical" fault is better. When you had to upgrade the thing because they EOL'ed that model, that's sort of their fault, right?) Summary: good stuff, expensive stuff ($600.00 for a $100.00 DIMM sucks)
  • by peterjm ( 1865 ) on Sunday March 26, 2000 @12:37PM (#1169735)
    I must say this about cisco, they have "the customer is always right" tatooed on every free part of their collective bodies.
    At work, we recently purchased a cisco 1605 router with built in csu/dsu. It was my job to setup and configure this router. The docs weren't as helpful as they could've been, so I put in a call to their tech support. After a lengthy conversation with some one there, I recived a fax with sample configurations, emails with specific technical docs attatched, and just tons of new information. When I finally hung up with the support tech, I checked my voice mail b/c someone had called while I was on the phone (almost an hour), only to find that it was another cisco tech. Apparently, while I was talking to the first tech, my ticket had been entered into the computer with a status of "pending". Seeing this still open ticket, the other tech wanted to make sure that I had recieved _all_ the information I needed to get their product up and running to my complete satisfaction!
    This is phenomenal(sp?). Not only do their techs want to stay on the phone with me until I'm completely satisfied (and bearing my "stupid" questions), but they also have techs who "patrol" for open tickets (freshly opened mind you, I was still on the phone with the tech that opened it) who call me to make sure I get everything I can.
    I'm no financial expert (taxes...? what are those?) but in my opinion, this company is worth _every_ damned penny of it's valuation.

    go cisco, well earned.

    from a (very) happy customer,
  • by Hrunting ( 2191 ) on Sunday March 26, 2000 @11:39AM (#1169736) Homepage
    I don't think people understand exactly how much control Cisco has over the Internet. Not only do they make routers, they also make dial-in equipment as well as the OS which runs all this equipment. What's so great about that, you might ask? Well, it's completely possible (and in fact, it's a reality) that an ISP can have 85% of their network infrastructure be Cisco products. It's something they've been able to do very quietly because a) they don't interact with the common consumer the way that MS does and b) they have a reputation for both making solid products and backing them up with solid service. They have certification programs that are very similar to Microsoft certification programs and they maintain a pretty constant flow of OS revisions for their routers. They're not without their problems, though, one of which is to have nasty bugs (when they do have bugs) that are hard to track down. Still, they are a solid company (worth almost $600 billion, I dunno about).

    A couple of years ago, my dad, who's a stock market junkie in his retirement, asked me which stocks were the best to buy. He was thinking of stocks like Yahoo, Amazon, etc. and I steered him towards more product driven companies, especially those involved with the infrastructure of the Internet, those that are less visible in the news. It's paid off. Luckily, he manages my portfolio as well. Stocks of companies that provide primarily services (Yahoo, Netpliance, Redhat) are traditionally more volatile than their product counterparts. I think anyone who's made an investment in such companies has generally done pretty well and had a much better chance for growth. This is, of course, long-term advice, not short-term advice. Yes, if you were in on Redhat in the initial period, you made a lot of money, but I wouldn't want to be my kids' future on companies that produce very little tangible product.

    And to those worried about Cisco's OS, don't worry, Linux isn't going to be challenged anytime soon. The OS is made for administering routers, not for running games and what-not. It's very specific to its task and not exactly something you play around with.
  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Sunday March 26, 2000 @11:32AM (#1169737) Homepage
    Cisco is a monopoly as huge as Microsoft. Fewer people are aware, because it involves the 'invisible' part of computer usage that most of us take for granted. But because of their market share, Cisco can and does gleefully break interoperability. Their machines don't need to work with anyone else's machines. But if you aren't Cisco, your machines had damn well better work with Cisco's, or you won't have any customers.

    It is not obvious to me whether or not the monopoly is harmfull in this case. Cisco, I understand, actually makes good products. But is that any consolation when they can lock out competition, charge arbitrary prices, and in the future stop making good products because, like MS, they don't _need_ to make good products, just new ones. As of yet most of this hasn't come to pass, but it is a possibility as it is with any monopoly.

    Perhaps, being networking where people are generally educated and care about performance, this will take care of itself, and no problem will emerge. But in the end PHB's still make the decisions, which worries me. I guess I just can't see a company get that huge with that much market share and not shudder a little.
  • by Mandi Walls ( 6721 ) on Sunday March 26, 2000 @11:57AM (#1169738) Homepage Journal
    One really cool thing about Cisco is that their IOS isn't all copyrighted - Juniper and Redback both use large parts of Cisco's software on their equipment, and the interfaces work the same way.

    The other thing about networking equipment, it has to obey the protocol. Cisco hasn't gone out and written it's own version of IP, frame relay, or ATM that is going to fsck someone putting equipment from multiple vendors on the same network or force certain hardware. Juniper routers can be put into an ISP's network, as can Redback aggregates, and still talk to the cisco border and transfer routers. UUNet uses equipment from all three vendors in mass quantities.

    Cisco hasn't shot itself in the foot yet, and I doubt they intend to. In contrast to Microsoft, Cisco has become the networking giant because their products actually work. Redback and Juniper have come into the game in niche positions, and Cisco has left them there, rather than trying to kill them off.


  • by Hangtime ( 19526 ) on Sunday March 26, 2000 @02:22PM (#1169739) Homepage
    Actually Cisco makes good products their not great products. Ask anyone in the networking field and more then likely you will find that their are SUPERIOR products to that of Cisco.

    Begs the question: Why is Cisco so valuable?

    Number one: Cisco does put out a quality product, its just not spectacular so no points lost here like MS.

    Number two: "No one lost their job buying Cisco product" mentality pervading the networking arena. Goto www.nwfusion.com or pick up a copy of Network World, an unbiased and very well done trade magazine, their was an article about these thoughts around two months ago. Very well done and will give some insight about this ideas.

    Number three: Cisco has gobbled up every company in an area of weakness and made M&A work. Credit CEO John Chambers and his staff on this one. Cisco has got "the buyout" down to an artform, in fact, executives from other companies come and study it. This ability to quickly integrate companies into Cisco has lead to the EXTREMELY low turnover within companies Cisco has bought out. This number hovers around 2% vs a standard in the industry 30%. Leading to number four.

    Number four: Great people make Cisco work. Cisco has been able to recruit, hire, buy, and keep its people allowing it to move quickly. With the use of a good corporate culture and outrageous stock options, Cisco can get the people it needs to keep moving.

    Words of caution: Cisco makes good gear, they dont make great gear. Refer back to Number two about this idea. Also sticker prices for Cisco gear are generally higher then the industry but many net managers can weasal price breaks out of them. Cisco also has a serious lacking of product towards the network core (ie fiber optics). Of course, Cisco has been on a terror buying up companies to fill this void. Actually Cisco's competitor Lucent has many more products and expertise related to the area thanks to its roots at AT&T.

    Food for thought: Cisco 12 billion in revenue last year, Lucent 34 billion
    Cisco's market cap almost 540+ Billion
    Lucent's 208+ Billion

    While I dont believe Cisco will be headed down anytime soon, I do believe there growth will slow, ie dont see 700 Billion next year. However, as a value play Lucent does figure well. Lucent does compete with Cisco in some areas but Lucent has more expertise at the network core then Cisco. With the increasing use of fiber-optics towards the network edge, ie in hubs, routers, into your home maybe =), then Lucent becomes much more valuable.

    Last comment: Cisco has become a giant within the networking arena, a benevolent giant. Cisco's reach is extending to nearly every aspect of the networking world, but we here nothing about them as a force. If people were TRULY interested in anti-trust lawsuits Cisco would be sitting in the crosshairs. Why? Because it could be argued that Cisco has more pull in the networking arena then Microsoft has in the software and OS arena. Also, if Microsoft were buying up companies at the rate of Cisco rather then tied down by prosecution, Microsoft would have already passed one trillion by now.

    All random thoughts, pick and choose.
  • by chazR ( 41002 ) on Sunday March 26, 2000 @11:14AM (#1169740) Homepage
    Cisco kit (routers, switches etc) runs an operating system called IOS (Internetworking Operating System) currently at version 12. Check it out here [cisco.com] if you're interested.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"