Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers
You know Web 2.0 has jumped the shark when a company that has built its fortunes peddling routers gratuitously doses its latest earnings call with Web 2.0 pixie dust. Which is what Cisco CEO John Chambers did at the company’s third-quarter earnings call. Is Chambers really serious when he bandies about Silicon Valley’s favorite buzzword? And what did he make of the job Sen. John McCain offered him last night?
- 2:30 p.m. PDT: Looks like we’re clearing up the job-offer issue right away. Chambers is not interested in a position in the McCain cabinet. “Job offers are always nice, but I’ve promised my board I’ll stick around for a while.”
- 2:35 p.m. Chambers says Web 2.0 will drive collaboration for years to come. As a “plumber” of the Internet, he says, it’s in Cisco’s best interests to encourage that because it drives data traffic.
- What’s Chambers’s theory on cable boxes? He says Cisco’s acquisition of Scientific Atlanta was one of the best acquisitions the company has ever done. “It changed the way the cable industry perceived us.”
- 2:40 p.m.: Chambers says the network will become the platform for delivering goods and services. Kara asks for his thoughts on Apple TV, and he says he wouldn’t be “surprised if Steve and I found a way to work on video together in the future.”
- 2:45 p.m.: How will we get video in the future? Chambers says two ways: fixed and wireless. Kara notes the slow broadband speeds in the U.S. Chambers says the U.S. needs a broadband policy. He notes that in Australia, broadband is one of the top three issues in the upcoming elections there. Why isn’t that true here? Kara asks, adding that it’s not as if people were demanding slower broadband speeds. Do we need a “broadband president”? Chambers notes that broadband applications extend well beyond entertainment–health care, collaboration, etc. He says we need a leader who realizes how important broadband is to our future, someone “willing to step on a few toes.”
- 2:50 p.m.: How does Chambers explain Cisco’s acquisitions in the social-networking sector? The first generation of the Internet was about driving business, he says. We’re going to see the exact same trend with social networking driving emerging-business technologies. Social networking is nothing more than how we will do business in the future.
- Cisco is changing its entire service model. It will deliver services virtually. It will bring experts into clients’ businesses virtually, with telepresence technology.
- Cisco’s greatest weakness? Poorly prioritizing resources, Chambers says.
- 3:05 p.m.: From the Q&A session …
- What’s Cisco doing to get rid of spam? Chambers seems to think spam is an issue that customers need to resolve. He worries that deploying spam filters at the pipe level could set a dangerous precedent for filtering or monitoring other data that we might prefer be kept private.
- On broadband and Net neutrality: This country is behind in broadband. If we don’t remove the roadblocks to our progress in that area, we will always be behind. So the question is what do we want the end result to be? Start at the answer and work backward.