Mike Sheldon
President and CEO
Tags: Cisco, Networking

Disrupting the Entrenched Monopoly

This afternoon in Las Vegas at CES, John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, predicted that, in 10 years, only 40% of today’s Fortune 500 companies will be “existing in a meaningful way.”

In response to Chambers, I think it’s necessary to recall these blogs from Dan Schienman, Arista BOD, and Jayshree Ullal, President and CEO of Arista Networks, as these pieces represent what I believe are the true shifts in the market.

These blogs from Arista Networks were published during the unrest that followed Cisco’s lawsuit, and they emphasized Arista’s strength and influence in the market. They explained the suit was Cisco’s reaction to losing the software battle in the cloud.

In a blog announcing the suit on December 5, 2014, Cisco’s General Council stated the following:  “In the thirteen years I’ve been General Counsel of Cisco, I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve initiated suit against a competitor, supplier or customer.

It’s therefore only after thoughtful and serious consideration that we are today filing two lawsuits to stop Arista’s repeated and pervasive copying of key inventions in Cisco products. These suits cover key Cisco proprietary patented features and Cisco’s copyrighted materials.”

A quick search on Westlaw shows that, during those same thirteen years, there have been enough legal actions taken by Cisco that the General Counsel would need dozens of hands.

I think what we’re seeing with Chambers’ claim as well as the lawsuit is that Cisco is now the entrenched monopoly, the GM of the 70’s or IBM of the 80’s.  It is the disruptors – Arista, VMware, Palo Alto, and Curvature – who are growing, thriving, taking market share, winning raving fans and not standing in the way of customer success. Jayshree of Arista said it well: “Pioneers are trailblazers. They create and make technology and markets happen. They are not afraid to replace an older technology with a newer one. Pioneers anticipate trends and fulfill customer needs.”

That is what Curvature is doing as well.  High-value hardware, third party maintenance, and multi-vendor managed services are what customers need, and we are making that market happen.  We are disrupting, and we will thrive.


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