NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, the Carly Fiorina (search) news was all the buzz in the tech world Wednesday. Even when I took up the issue with none other than Cisco (search) boss and Carly pal, John Chambers, who reminded me that H.P.'s board might have had troubles with Carly, but not his board with him.
JOHN CHAMBERS, CEO, CISCO (CSCO): I committed to my board about six months ago that assuming they want me to, and my employees and shareholders, I'd like to stay at Cisco for another three to five years.
We're trying to build a company that's not just built to last, but also to lead. And this most recent quarter, I think, is a good example of that, where we're leading across almost all of our product area.
CAVUTO: So what do you make of what happened to her at Hewlett Packard?
CHAMBERS: Well, if you think about it, Carly is a very good friend. And she's been a great business partner, leading H.P. to Cisco. I competed against her when she was at Lucent, and she hits a very tough competitor.
And I think CEOs today are just held to a very high level of accountability. And if you think about it in this market, I'll use Cisco as an example, you have to be willing to take business risks.
And we're taking business risks moving into new markets, such as security and wireless networks in the home marketplace. And if they work out, CEO's probably get more credit than they deserve, and if they don't work out, you get some constructive criticism, which is fair. That's kind of the responsibility of the job today.
CAVUTO: All right, it's a tough market for all technology companies, your own included. Her stock had really not moved much since the great merger with Compaq, and the board made her rue the day, I would guess.
Your stock over the last year, despite an enormous run-up since when you first came on board, has also suffered. Do you ever look over your shoulder and say, there but by the grace of God?
CHAMBERS: Well, I've got a company that I'm very proud of, and we're in the right market at the right time. And as you alluded to, her stock is up 55,000 percent since we went public, and over about 1,000 percent since I became CEO.
CAVUTO: But you know Wall Street is fickle. And over the last year, down about 20 some odd percent. You know, what have you done for me lately? And the natives are getting restless. And do you look at what happened at Hewlett-Packard and say, uh-oh?
CHAMBERS: No. I think, Neil, any CEO who doesn't have confidence in his or her strategy and doesn't understand their position versus their competition, isn't doing their job.
If you look at where Cisco is in terms of our market, we're the No. 1 router player. And that grew this last quarter year over year in the 10 to 15 percent range. We're the No. 1 switch player. We grew in the 10 to 15 percent range.
We produced record net income of $1.5 billion, 24 percent of revenue, which is just better than almost any high tech company in history has done. And at the same time, we moved into six advanced technologies, each of which grew year over year at 30 percent to 70 percent.
No high-tech company in history has got that balance. So I'm very comfortable with our strategy and our direction. And it appears to be working very, very well.
CAVUTO: Finally, could I get your sense of the commoditization of your business, and not directly your company, John, but maybe what hurt Carly, and what has hurt some of the box makers and all, that have nothing to do directly with what you're doing, is that they became a commodity. It was very tough to make a business of that.
And I know you are essentially the means by which people get on the Internet, and there's so many other uses beyond that. So it's a little apples and oranges.
But do you think that's the problem for technology companies today, to squeeze more out of what used to be easy money, but has now sort of been commoditized?
CHAMBERS: Well, I think there are two concepts at work, Neil. First is Moore's Law, which means you double the price performance every 18 months. That's true of the high-tech industry as a whole, which means you've got to sell twice as much every 18 months because your prices will be coming down to have the same level of revenue. That's a given in the industry.
The second is, as you alluded to, the concept of a box. If all you're providing is hardware, that has commodity like trades, and all of a sudden, somebody can unseat you, either another brand name or a dramatically lower cost company.
CAVUTO: Which is what happened at Hewlett, essentially.
CHAMBERS: Which is what happens in the P.C. industry. Somebody else is providing software. Somebody else is providing the process or the engine.
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