Who Will Cisco Buy Next?

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CSCO has always built itself through acquisitions. The original growth story of CSCO was a thing of beauty. Imagine this: lets say everyone in the world lived on a one-person island. Finally, someone came along and built bridges for everyone. They had the monopoly on it and they sold bridges to everyone. Everyone! That was CSCO with their original routers that one by one connected computers up to the internet all through the 90s. The cash flows from that allowed them to buy companies, often startups for tens of billions that allowed them to quickly become leaders in various other segments of the communications industry. In particular, they bought several fiber-optic startups that allowed them to compete in the broadband bandwidth space. They also bought wifi startups that got them into last-mile broadband connectivity.

More recently, with the acquisition of WEBX in particular, it looks like they are taking a different tact â€" buy established leaders in industries that can extend their services through the corporate enterprise. They don't want to just be the nuts and bolts connecting the computers, they want to store the data on those networks (through their just announced acquisition of Neopath) and they want to dominate the communication that occurs between the humans behind those computers, hence a mature acquisition like WEBX.

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