Networking equipment giant Cisco Systems Inc. on Monday beat Wall Street expectations with its first-quarter earnings announcements, but the numbers were much worse than last year.
First-quarter earnings were $332 million, or 4 cents per share, excluding charges, compared with earnings of $1.4 billion, or 18 cents per share, in the first quarter of last year.
Revenue was down 32 percent from last year to $4.4 billion.
The good news was that sales increased one-tenth of a billion dollars from the previous quarter, marking the first sequential growth in a year.
Cisco executives in a conference call Monday repeatedly blamed the less-than-stellar earnings on a faltering economy and on the effects of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. (A question-and-answer session with analysts proved that "post nine-eleven" already is an established term in the financial community.)
In the past Cisco has had a reputation for cockiness, but CEO John Chambers indicated that those days are over.
"If there is one lesson we learned over the past year, its how quickly things can change," he said. "Honestly, none of us really knows what is going to happen in the next nine to 12 months. … Our focus is on the available market."