Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO)
Cisco is a worldwide leader in data-networking equipment and software. As a dominant player in this global market, the company is well-positioned to capitalize on increasing demands for sophisticated technology throughout an economically developing world. Cisco derives about half of its sales from the U.S. with the rest split between Europe and the rest of the world.
Cisco benefits from the increased use of next-generation network applications that span different types of signals, including video (e.g.,conferencing, Internet), sound, data, and voice. The use of these high-bandwidth applications is fueling the need for an industry-wide networking upgrade. Cisco provides IP-based routers, switches and related technologies which can support greater bandwidth and manage different types of applications. Its primary customers include enterprise companies (over 1,000 employees), small business (under 1,000 employees), and service providers for data, video, and communications. As a result, its business growth is highly tied to the overall health of the economy. Cisco has limited offerings to end consumers at this time.
Cisco has one of the highest gross operating margins among its competitors because of its size and scale. The size of the company allows it to maintain a large advantage in negotiating for many of its supply agreements. Furthermore, Cisco has the lowest operating costs (as a percentage of sales) in its industry. Cisco maintains cost levels at around 35% of total sales while other companies incur costs up to half of their total revenues. Cisco also has an impressive base of loyal enterprise customers.
Cisco is the leading seller of routers.
Cisco leads the switches industry with about 70% market share.
One key advantage afforded to Cisco by its size is the ability to spend more on research and development than its competitors. As with most high technology industries, research and development spending can drive innovation of new products and stave off the obsolescence of older offerings.
In addition to other large networking companies with broad portfolios, and especially as it reaches into more specified product markets, Cisco also competes with niche networking companies like Symantec, the leader in internet security.