Cisco CEO John Chambers: “HP Is A Competitor”
The VAR Guy is seated for a press briefing with Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers and Executive VP Rob Lloyd. Here are the top eight highlights from the discussion, which focuses on collaboration, competition with Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft, and what Flip video represents to Cisco going forward. For those who haven’t been keeping score, Cisco has fired three bullets at HP in recent days.
The notes below are largely paraphrased. Chambers speaks pretty quickly. The VAR Guy types fast. But not that fast. Here are the highlights, blending thoughts from Chambers and Lloyd.
1. No More Lines: The line between consumer and corporate IT has blurred. Chambers said Protect & Gamble and other Fortune 500 companies embraced Flip video for briefings and communications before Cisco even acquired Flip.
2. Online Collaboration: Chambers noted that Cisco’s own travel budget has fallen from $780 million, down to $230 million and will rise again to a sustained level at $350 million. But it won’t grow from there. The reason: Online collaboration and telepresence.
3. Competing with Microsoft, HP: Here’s the juicy part. According to Chambers and Cisco competes and cooperates with Microsoft.
Lloyd (paraphrased): What was interesting to Cisco in the HP-Microsoft announcement is that Microsoft has a networking partner, but they just picked the wrong partner. Microsoft will gain very little value in the partnership from HP. In terms of services, HP will approach with Halo that will try and copy Cisco’s collaborative architectures. And HP’s unified strategy will be a very direct [sales] approach in Cisco’s opinion.
Chambers on Microsoft: “Steve Ballmer and I agreed that we’ll focus on interoperability even where we compete.”
4. Chambers on HP: “We don’t focus on competition. We focus on being a leader during market transitions. We partner in eight or nine areas very tightly with Microsoft and compete in two areas.”
Now, the point-blank statement on HP from Chambers: “We compete with HP.” Four powerful words that effectively declare war against HP.
That’s all he said about HP. No partnership mention. No ducking the issue. “We compete with HP.” Clear. Concise. Heck, even The VAR Guy got the message.
Three Bullets Aimed At HP
This is the third time in recent days that Cisco has taken shots at HP and Microsoft. Cisco Channel Chief Keith Goodwin fired the first shot. And Cisco Senior VP of Software Scott Proctor fired the second shot. And now CEO John Chambers has fired the third shot.
But in a comment posted on TheVARguy.com last week, HP VP Adrian Jones asserted the company’s ongoing commitment to partners. The VAR Guy’s take on the situation: Our resident blogger certainly doubts HP will walk away from the channel…
Back to the Briefing
Of course, Chambers discussed far more than HP at the briefing. Here’s what else he and Lloyd covered.
5. Mixed Emotions on the Dow: Cisco is joining the Dow, but Chambers showed class by saying it’s with mixed emotions to be a company that joined the Dow Jones Industrial Average at a time when GM is leaving it, since GM is a global icon and Cisco has lots of friends at GM.
6. Acquisition of Flip: It was a consumer, corporate, video and architecture play all rolled into one. 90 percent of the load on networks will be video in two years, asserts Chambers.
By the way: Yes, Chambers does plan to stay with Cisco long term. But The VAR Guy isn’t sure if Chambers has done previous media partner summit briefings with another executive in the room. Interesting to see Lloyd taking questions side-by-side with Chambers. Hmmm… … …
Side note: Chambers said TelePresence will eventually be sold at Best Buy.
7. Three-year Plays: Cisco made decision three years ago to play in the data center. Part of a three- to five-year process with all of Cisco’s technology plays, Chambers said.
8. Not An Entry Into Server Hardware: Again, Chambers dismissed media claims that Cisco’s server launch is a server play. He stuck with the Cisco party line: Servers are part of a a high-margin architecture strategy — the unified computing system.
“I would have never entered the server market with a standalone product,” said Chambers. He added: “If you just want to buy a server, buy IBM. If you want to buy an architecture, buy Cisco.”
Oh, And One More Thing: Yes, Chambers does plan to stay with Cisco long term. But The VAR Guy isn’t sure if Chambers has done previous media partner summit briefings with another executive in the room. Interesting to see Lloyd taking questions side-by-side with Chambers. Hmmm… … …