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Has Cisco Lost Its Sizzle?

When was the last time Cisco made news other than patching yet another router security hole? Can't remember? Neither can I. There's a good reason for that --- the company has lost its sizzle.
Quietly, it's slipped from the forefront of the networking revolution. It's now a solid, reliable behemoth of a company, delivering technology that underpins the Internet and enterprise networks, but it doesn't wow you with new ideas or technologies.

If you're looking for exciting technology, don't look to the venerable networking company. You won't find it. Cutting-edge VoIP, wireless VoIP, innovative new Web technologies --- all the sizzle these days comes from businesses like Google, Skype and others.

When the company releases its quarterly earnings this week, expect more of the same --- solid revenue, most likely with sales of around $6.6 billion.

But unless things change, the days of Cisco as a high flyer and tech leader may be behind it. That may be the natural state of things --- as cutting-edge companies become massive ones, it becomes tougher for them to innovate.

Ehud Gelblum, an analyst at J.P. Morgan, summed it up best when he told the Reuters news agency that Cisco was following a long-time pattern of very successful companies. As a company becomes larger, it becomes more stable, but less able to innovate.

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