Following Cisco Systems Inc.s fourth-quarter earnings call, Cisco Chief Development Officer Charlie Giancarlo spoke with eWEEK Senior Editor Paula Musich about Ciscos initiatives, acquisition strategy and recent security-vulnerabilities reporting controversy.
How did that Nokia [Corp.] acquisition rumor get started?
People see us meeting with these big companies. We attempt to build partnerships with many big companies. We announced a partnership in June with Nokia to enable wireless phones to work in a Wi-Fi environment. They are a partner, and we do meet with them. What surprised us is that people actually believed [the rumor]. The only word for it is bizarre. Our consistent story is that our preferred acquisition strategy is to buy small, high-tech, private companies that have management teams with a similar vision.
Cisco ended up looking bad in the eyes of the security community over its actions quashing a security presentation detailing vulnerabilities in Cisco routers at Black Hat [Inc.s Black Hat USA Briefings]. What is Cisco going to do to try to repair its image with the security community?
Cisco operated according to our standard practice that we have made very public. We work closely with responsible researchers. You fix before you disclose, and what is disclosed is the existence of a vulnerability but not the exact code for exploiting vulnerabilities. The release of exploit vectors is not responsible, and we will take steps to protect our customers.
Ciscos new AON [application-oriented networking] initiative does not yet fully represent the next advanced-technology opportunity for Cisco. When will Cisco make that determination as to whether its the $1 billion market you predicted?
There are things we experiment with all the time. We want to see if there is a reasonable opportunity to build a market to $1 billion. It probably took five years after we announced IP telephony as an advanced technology before it became $1 billion. With security, we started shipping it nine years ago. It was five years after we announced it as an advanced technology before it became a $1 billion market. If we see the momentum that this will develop, then well have the confidence. It may take three to six years.
If it doesnt turn out to be a worthwhile bet, will Cisco pull the plug on the AON initiative?
If its a good business, well keep it going. If its a bad business, further complicated by the degree to which we need to continue to support our customers, we will ... get out of it.