"If you look at the top companies in the industry, most of them will not exist in a meaningful way in 10 years ... You're going to see a brutal, brutal consolidation of the IT industry where out of the top five players, only two or three of us will be meaningful in as quick as five years" states John Chambers at his Cisco Live (CSCO) conference keynote.
Chambers notes two fellow IT giants, IBM and H-P, have seen negative revenue growth in a majority of their quarters since 2011; Cisco, of course, has had its own top-line issues as of late. He predicts smaller vendors (e.g. Juniper, F5, Riverbed) will get squeezed between Cisco (naturally) and the white-label OEMs (beloved by Web/cloud firms) he considers company's biggest threat.
The remarks come as Cisco shows off new personal videoconferencing systems - the DX70 and DX80 - that go for $1K-$2K apiece, as well as new services and partners for its InterCloud platform, which aims to enable interconnected cloud services from dozens of service provider partners (rather than Cisco itself).
Cisco has promised to invest $1B over the next two years in InterCloud, as it tries to make up lost time in a market featuring aggressive pricing and a long list of rivals that include Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM. New partners include NetApp and Accenture.
The DX70/80 have won praise for their sleek, minimalist hardware (shades of Apple) and streamlined UI, but critics also scoff at their premium pricing. Videoconferencing weakness led Cisco's collaboration revenue to fall 12% Y/Y in FQ3; orders (boosted by WebEx) grew 4%.