Thread regarding Cisco Systems Inc. layoffs

What's next?

It's been a pretty turbulent year so far and we're not even half way. Revenue is down, employee moral is down, over 7k people were sacked and more are choosing to leave daily, Arista wins legal decision, Intercloud is dropped, pulling out of OpenStack.

What's next?

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Have to agree with .

Having been forced out of Cisco a few years ago, I now work at a company that (among many things) sells both MS and Cisco collaboration products to third parties. The company itself has standardised on MS, but you can also have Webex if you can justify it. To further add to confusion, some offices have Cisco IP desk phones too (even though you can also use MS for phone calls).

I much preferred a real IP phone, Jabber, Webex and actual telepresence hardware over what we use here - a USB headset and Skype for Business. Much more reliable (and I'm not saying that because I used to work in CTG). I also found it really annoying that Jabber was configured not to save chats.

I have friends still in CTG. I think they've still got a job (I haven't spoken to them since this year's bloodbath), but I honestly can't see why they are still there. I'd be actively looking for something new.

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CSG will be no more soon. For the past 2 years the the group has been picked apart and most of the top execs have either left or moved to other BUs. This is not a surprise everyone knows this I left the team when I was told by someone in the know that the entire BU had 18 months left which was a year ago. A friend was afftected and was told by the manager don't worry I will be next soon.

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: I had heard rumors of this but it seemed so suicidal, I couldn't comprehend of being true. After hearing it from a bunch of Peter's...seems like there is truth in there. WebEx is a really difficult code base and the back end infra, a nightmare but why kill the golden egg making Goose? Maybe what others have mentioned is correct and this is the only way to take that old sh1tty WebEx code/product to the next level.

Ironically Slack already does all of what Spark and some of what WebEx can do today: />

Slack has IM, voice, video and soon desktop sharing. Game over.

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Most of the WebEx team has been decimated at this stage with just a small team left to keep the lights on. Worse, is that this team have been left with a hugely complex code base that is extremely fragile and doesn't lend itself to expansion in its current form. Maybe the leadership team recognise that WebEx cannot be extended without a huge refactoring efgort but realise that they have let the Engineers capable of doing that work go so the only "strategic" option left is to reinvent the wheel and put some half baked Webex-like capabilities into Spark and leave WebEx to starve itself to death over the next 24 months and EOL it. This will frustrate customers no end. "Sorry, we don't support WebEx anymore but have you seen Spark MeetingPlace? It will do about 20% of what WebEx used to do and costs 20 times more". No thanks.

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...as a reference

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Like most of our crappy products, the first part of the go-to-market strategy is to kill off Webex and Jabber internally and force everybody to use the half baked Spark so that the BU can use ourselves as a Ferenc.

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Sorry, Tough Love but Rowan and his "leaders" are working hard to kill WebEx. They have told Sales to focus on Spark are they have dramatically cut back (laid off) the staff working on WebEx. They expect to roll WebEx features into Spark and then phase out WebEx.

The problem is, no major customers want Spark. Usage is flat. Rowan and Meggars are just trying to save their jobs at this point and they're desperate to keep Spark afloat. CSG revenues have started falling again, so they don't have much time left. I'd expect them all to be gone within a year.

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I'd be really surprised if anything happened to WebEx as we know it beyond purely a branding switch.

It is still a cash cow and that is what is most important today. However from an infrastructure/code/deployment/security standpoint it is a real legacy burning dumpster. Everyone would live to improve those parts but at the risk of turning off the money faucet? Nope.

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It's a real shame that we are going to fold two very decent standalone products - WebEx and Jabber - into the Spark platform. I can see why they want to do it, but ignoring the most important voices, (our customers!) who do not like it, is surely going to have a knock-on effect. Or maybe the new motto is "build it and they will come". . . ?

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- Rowan probably believes it. He is just having a hard time making everybody else see it right now. If they don't start seeing it soon it could spell trouble in the Collaboration BU but he probably has a few more quarters to knock it out of the park before the henchman arrive.

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How about CVG? Rumor is that they are killing it that BU by Q3

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Does anyone really believe that SPARK is going to be the 'next new thing'? I've heard Rowen is planning on replacing WebEx and Jabber with Spark, but guess what. Customers don't like Spark. I have been an employee for 13 years and Id on't like it either. Too hard to figure it out and it doesn't do what I need once I do.

That's a joke. Maybe it's because I was a Mac user and not a Windoze user, but Spark was pitiful. I remember the days where Jabber was a joke and Mac users preferred Adium over Jabber, but Jabber came a LONG way since then, at least on the Mac side. Some of the updates for the Windoze client weren't too bad, but others were terrible. The biggest complaint I--and many others too--had about Jabber was Legal's insistence that Jabber/IM chats were not to be logged/kept around. When you asked co-workers for an answer to something, you had better copy it from Jabber to something else if you needed to remember it for later. I especially hated when Jabber crashed and I lost all my chat history.

WebEx, in my opinion, beat the other competitors hands-down. When ever I had to have a session with a vendor's tech support and they wanted to use their company's product--their own or something they purchased from someone--it was much worse than using WebEx. I even got to have virtual meetings with customers who used WebEx, but were obviously not paying for the full product capability and it was worse than our internal experience but still better than whatever tool IBM was using.

My new employer is using Slack and it's better than Spark. And with the ability to share your screen or call someone from Slack, it's pretty much Spark, Jabber & WebEx rolled into one.

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Does anyone really believe that SPARK is going to be the 'next new thing'? I've heard Rowen is planning on replacing WebEx and Jabber with Spark, but guess what. Customers don't like Spark. I have been an employee for 13 years and Id on't like it either. Too hard to figure it out and it doesn't do what I need once I do.

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I'd love to see some pressure put on VP's too. There are too many of them just taking from the company. The lowest 5% of MD/VPs in each region should either be chopped or get reassigned.

Reassigned?!? Heck no, boot them out!

Don't you know there are NO VP/SVPs in the bottom 5%? It's a double standard. They don't have forced rankings and get booted out the door when they don't perform, or at least it doesn't appear so from the bottom. In over 10 yrs at Cisco, I don't recall hearing of any upper management getting LR'd. They just suddenly "resign" or move on and take a golden parachute with them.

I'd LOVE to see the under performing VPs, SVPs and members of the ELT get a boot "for being too expensive" same as the individual contributors. Heck, they're a LOT more expensive than I was.

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Everyone be aware HR is already geared up for another LR after Q2 end! It's a fact and the slates are already submitted.

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Who famously said "its all about the base". Same folks who have run the EN biz over last several years need to be ousted and replaced with new fresh thinkers in all theatres at same time. Old timers not doin it.

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Cisco engineering especially GSP is producing sh--ty products. No wonder the sales are dealing. Can't simply blame the sales organization.

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I reckon Rowan is on the ropes, as the chemistry between him and Chuck doesn't feel that good.

Also, surely questions need to be asked about Dedicoat? As soon as he takes over global sales, sales start declining. The only strategy from him seems to be to refresh the base. Is that what these people are paid to come up with?

I'd love to see some pressure put on VP's too. There are too many of them just taking from the company. The lowest 5% of MD/VPs in each region should either be chopped or get reassigned.

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: But here's the thing. Chuckie, when interviewed on MSM like CNBC, doesn't even mention putting the money back into R&D. The day after 1Q announce, he was interviewed, and he very clearly said it would be stock buybacks and dividend first. He didn't say much more about it after that.

At The Beat, their talk of the new found money was vague with nothing specific. There may be some crumbs left over, but don't expect anything big or visionary from this ELT team.

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: That was a great summary and you hit the mark on all points. One additional point about the repatriation tax; we've been here before. Ronald Regan tried it and it was attempt again in 2004. In both cases CEOs talked about how they would use that money brought onshore to create jobs here in the US. In both cases it didn't happen. It was just a way to get money back to the investors in dividends and M&A as mentioned.

Again, Donald Trump is a dope and anything he thinks he knows is from two decades ago. 'Tickle Down' Economics.......tried in the 1980s. Didn't work then and it sure as hell isn't going to work now.

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Actually close to 10K were let go, with more to come!

Cisco is being out priced, out thought, out R&D'd, out executed, out innovated by almost every one apart from its life raft Ericsson. GSP Down 12% Year on Year, price pressures are building up almost on every business line.

Cisco has missed the boat on SDN, NfV and now Cloud ! Back to selling tin, pile it high and sell it cheaper.

There is no innovation and the old cyclic method of EOL of a product to instigate churn, now means a large percentage will go else where. Let me tell you it is not until you are out that you see how much pain newer products are inflicting on Cisco market share, the guys at Arista must be laughing their heads off.

The company now more than ever needs Leaders and not people who want to play at being a Leader!

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I think you must be on another planet.

The Chuck has already said the money bought in from a Tax break will be used for share buy backs, a one time dividend and some M&A. No mention of R&D there? And with M&A he's just saying what the speculators want to hear, as if having the money in the US makes any difference to the capability to M&A. I suspect nearly all will go into debt payback, share buy backs and dividend yields to boost the share price and justify some large Exec bonuses.

Metacloud and Hyperflex are both commercial flops. Leadership have been telling us for a while now to discount them to whatever it takes to win the business, but still growth is declining for UCS and datacenter as a whole.

R&D... didn't everyone who ever came up with anything that resembled home grown innovation (MPLS) just leave the company to setup their own business?

Although AWS isn't growing at the rates you'd be led to believe, in the Enterprise space they still have some of the biggest companies in the world using their infrastructure, which BTW means Cisco isn't getting any DC business from them. People like Amazon.com, Netflix, Uber, Pfizer, Unilever, Citrix for example. But the more interesting thing is if you speak to Enterprise customers, they all say they are not in the DC business anymore, are building all new applications to run in the cloud and are on the cusp off moving heavy workloads out to AWS and Azure, which in turn again means no DC business for Cisco. I strongly believe that after this next phase of refreshes due on Cat 6500 due this year, Cisco's DC business will go in to free fall as customers turn their backs on building in house infrastructure and focus instead on app development for the cloud.

Lastly, yes I'm sure their are a lot of Red badges willing to do a blue badge job, but is that a good thing for Cisco? There is a reason that some people are Red badges and it's not just the flexibility it give Cisco. Often these people are less qualified and talented, hence why they are willing to accept lower levels of pay. If all Blues were replaced with Reds tomorrow, Cisco would quickly recognise a talent shortage and this will hit revenues. As for grads, have to not noticed most the good ones tend to leave a few years in. Cisco is not a place Millenials aspire or want to work for and the culture is also heading in the wrong direction to retain them, however it's a good stepping stone out of college, but Cisco would need to prepare for a change in the churn of staff if this is the future strategy.

Cisco is a good company with lots of cash. However market forces are working against them and due to a few bad decisions 5-10 years ago it seems that Cisco like many other old skool tech companies are sailing in the wrong direction but trying to convince everyone it's the right way. If they don't do something extremely drastic in the 2-3 years, things might not be recoverable.

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Does Chuck regularly opine that Cisco has "never been better positioned" for some fantasy goal, like his predecessor used to?

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What Turbulence ? We have billions in cash. With Trump there will be a chance to bring most them onshore, therefore chance of R&D or more better quality startups.

Openstack shops like HP hellion, mirantis and now plumgrid are all cutting down/shutting down. So its not just Cisco. AWS cloud is not all rosy, lot of customers find it expensive unless you are like netflix getting significant discounts. Dont forget we still have CVG mercury for NFV and Metacloud for Enterprise which is doing just fine.

As for morale, there are always contractors willing to take up jobs for high rates(not talking about h1bs) and new college grads/tech collage grads. Not to mention contractors waiting to be converted to blue badges.

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We have spark.

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The beatings will continue until morale improves.....

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What do you mean OP? Did you not hear at the Beat from Chuckie and his cronies about all the "fun" we are having? You are just highlighting little bumps on our road back to greatness! Negativity like yours will only get you LR'd my friend. Now, get back to polishing whatever turd you are working on :-P

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Forgot our CTO left too.

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