Case 28ID: A Case Study of Cisco Systems

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Case Analysis #28 Cisco Systems, Inc.: Acquisition integration for manufacturing Who are the main players? The main player in this case study is Cisco Systems, Inc. Cisco is one of the largest and most diverse technological firms in the IT industry at the time when the case study was set (in the mid 1990s). The other key player is Summa Four, a mid-sized technology firm that Cisco desired to acquire. In the 1990s, Cisco's dominance was legendary. It had played a critical role in forming the architecture of the World Wide Web, by developing the first multi-protocol router that could link all of the world's computer networks together. It began to compete with Lucent Technologies and Nortel in the market for technology to transmit voice, data, and video and formed a partnership with Sprint, giving it a competitive advantage over these larger and more established companies. Summa Four, although a far smaller company, also had many accomplishments. It had become one of the leading providers of open programmable digital switching systems, "sold primarily to telecommunications service providers worldwide, such as AT&T, MCI, Sprint, and British Telecom" (Tempest 1998: 15). Its value to Cisco was clear, given Cisco's desired dominance of communications technology in all facets of the industry. What businesses and industries are the companies competing in? Cisco was a major player in the IT industry. Unlike other IT companies, it did not simply dominate one area of the

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