Cisco's (NASDAQ:CSCO) search for new rivals appear to be leading right to Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) front door step. During his closing keynote at a Cisco partner event in Las Vegas on April 5, CEO John Chambers predicted Cisco's biggest four rivals over the long haul will be Google, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Alcatel (ALU) and Huawei Technologies.
Although Cisco has never been known as a software company, Cisco executives believe that the IT market is shifting in their favor. So-called Web 2.0 applications will require unified networks, multiple claims, setting the stage for a showdown with Google over the long haul.
Chambers reiterated (politely but firmly) that Cisco has a three-year lead over Microsoft in the unified communications space. His presentation also listed networking companies that have imploded over the past few years. (There's the old Cabletron logo, folks.)
By showing slides that highlighted Cisco's past, current and potential future rivals, Chambers non-verbally suggested that companies like Nortel aren't keeping pace ... and laggards like 3Com will never get back in the game.
Backed by 2,500 IT consultants and technology partners at the event, Chambers insisted that Cisco is the company that's best positioned to thrive in the world of Web 2.0 applications and global collaboration.
Although Cisco executives expressed healthy concern about the competition, many of them also said this is the most bullish Cisco has been in years. Noted Karl Meulema, VP of services marketing and channels at Cisco, "It's safe to say that John [Chambers] is very, very bullish" about Cisco's business prospects.
That's not to suggest that Cisco is saying everyone should run out and buy the company's stock. Clearly, Meulema wasn't referring to Cisco's revenue or profit projections. Instead, he was answering a quesstion about the company's overall moo!
d compared to previous annual partner conferences.
The bottom line: Expectations within Cisco appear to be quite high and the search for new rivals should lead right to Google's front door.