Palo Alto: Cisco's networking 'empire' will die

Networking empire

Last week, during its annual conference, Cisco defended itself for moving into more varied markets, such as servers and security. This week, however, one of its competitors claimed the strategy would be its downfall.

Nir Zuk, outspoken founder of Palo Alto Networks and ex-employee of a number of networking heavyweights, compared the Goliath company to historical fallen regimes and warned the company against spreading itself too thinly.

In an interview with IT PRO at this week's NetEvents conference in Barcelona, Zuk said: "History shows empires die when they try to spread too wide. Over 2,000 years ago it was the Greeks and the Romans, 100 years ago it was your British empire and now where I live [the US] is losing its [power]."

"We see it in the high tech companies too."

He claimed Cisco should "stop playing in fields they aren't specialists" in and cited occassions where the company had overplayed its offerings.

"Every year we heard they were going to kill Checkpoint but now that is a $1 billion company," he added.

"Anything beyond routing and switching, Cisco are just not dominating in."

Zuk said he hoped the company would "revert back to what they are good at" but when we asked if he thought they would, the founder merely shrugged his shoulders.

"I strongly believe companies focusing on their core competencies will be the most successful," he concluded.

Earlier this week, Zuk gave a keynote presentation at NetEvents, making bold claims that both Nokia and Microsoft were "dead companies" for their lack of innovation in their respective markets.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.