by ilene - November 11th, 2010 9:08 pm
Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist
This is a VERY interesting development in the corporate
**Cisco’sKeyTakeaways. (1) Cisco reporting notable weaknessinthe Public/Gov’t vertical, in which the company cited weakness particularly in the U.S. with a rapid change (deceleration) in State/Local Gov’t spending dynamics. Total public vertical accounted for ~22% of Cisco’s total product orders; total global orders up only 6% yr/yr vs. +23% yr/yr in the prior quarter. Within this, Cisco did report that it saw mid-teens/stable growth in the U.S. Federal vertical.
This quarter’s weakness was largely the result of declines in state & local
“The level of complacency around this issue is alarming. Most assume, as last week’s Buttonwood panel did, that the federal government will simply come to the rescue of the states without appreciating the immensity of the cumulative state-budget gaps. I expect multiple municipal defaults to trigger indiscriminate selling, which will prompt a federal response. Solutions attempted in piecemeal fashion, as we’ve seen thus far, would amount to constantly putting out recurring fires.
Rather than waiting for more federal intervention, states need to make their own hard decisions and not kick the can down the road. How will taxpayers from fiscally conservative states like Texas or Nebraska feel about bailing out threadbare Illinois or California? Let’s hope we never have to find out.”
Perhaps even more interesting in recent days is the action in the muni market, which has been priced for perfection:
[click on chart to enlarge]
by ilene - September 8th, 2010 11:17 pm
And the winner is…Cloud! The tech industry sub-sector with perhaps this year’s meatiest move is undoubtedly cloud computing. Names like Riverbed ($RVBD), Akamai ($AKAM) and 3Par ($PAR) have all been putting up insane numbers this year, performance-wise.
My awakening to the group’s potential back in January came courtesy of a kickass cover story in Barron’s (Sky’s The Limit)- ever since then the cloud computing stocks mentioned (and some that were omitted) have been nothing but fire – in a market that is unchanged year-to-date.
Here’s a peek at the majesty that is Cloud Stock-age thus far in the Twentyten:
Regular readers know that I’ve been hammering away at the cloud theme all year, even hoping for the advent of a Cloud Computing ETF at one point this past spring, albeit in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way (we still haven’t gotten one).
What’s next for the group?
* I have a hard time believing that Cisco has much interest in trailing behind Riverbed in market share for very much longer. Riverbed’s Steelhead product suite speeds up transmission of applications and data from the cloud to the end user, this is a corporate IT Holy Grail as it allows for the efficient decentralization that global entities need. I could see Cisco or one of its rivals making a move for this name as this would give them the number one offering in this crucial space instantly.
* Akamai’s global "private web" video serving solution will probably continue to be the delivery method of choice as Web TV becomes a reality and online streaming continues to be monetized. The wake up call for me on Akamai was when I learned that it was their technology that was the backbone for NBC’s serving of Winter Olympics video to everyone’s mobile devices.
* The bidding war over 3Par (between Dell and H-P) kinda gilds Rackspace’s ($RAX) lilly a bit when you think about it. Rackspace took over an abandoned shopping mall in downtown San Antonio and built an amazingly scaled-up cloud hosting center. Their fanatical reputation for customer service to their cloud hosted customers is the heart of their story, however – anyone can build a server farm.
by ilene - August 13th, 2010 5:00 am
Consumer Spending Slumps Even With Back-to-School Underway; Cisco, IBM Sales Suggest Corporate Spending Slowdown
Courtesy of Mish
A new Gallup Poll shows Spending Slumps Even With Back-to-School Underway
Americans’ self-reported spending in stores, restaurants, gas stations, and online averaged $62 per day during the week ending Aug. 8. Early August consumer spending trends trail 2009 and will need to surge to match last year’s anemic back-to-school results.
Gallup’s weekly spending measure for the first week of August shows no improvement over that of the last week in July or that of the same week a year ago. In turn, this suggests that back-to-school sales are unlikely to substantially exceed last year’s depressed levels. In fact, this week’s comparable of a year ago was a big spending week, making for challenging sales comparables for many retailers this year.
Corporate Spending Slowdown
Bloomberg reports Cisco, IBM Sales May Signal Slowdown in U.S. Corporate Spending
Weaker-than-forecast sales at Cisco Systems Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. may signal a slowdown in the corporate spending that has led the U.S. recovery.
“It’s been business investment, particularly technology, that’s been in the driver’s seat,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services in Pittsburgh. Should equipment spending slow significantly, “unless something else picks up the pace, it means the outlook for the economy is going to be that much dimmer.”
Corporate investment is among the few remaining sources of economic growth as the effects of government stimulus measures wane and unemployment remains stuck near a 26-year high. Economists this week cut their forecasts for the second half of the year as the more than 8 million jobs lost during the recession hamstring consumer spending.
San Jose, California-based Cisco yesterday said revenue in the current quarter will be $10.64 billion to $10.83 billion, compared with a $10.95 billion median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. The stock fell as much as 12 percent in intraday Nasdaq trading today
IBM, the world’s biggest computer-services company, last month reported revenue that missed analysts’ estimates, citing a decline in services-contract signings. Signings fell 12 percent to $12.3 billion, the second straight quarterly drop in contracts for services, which make up more than half of IBM’s total revenue.
GDP is increasingly likely to be negative at least one quarter in the second half yet few economists even discuss the possibility.
by ilene - March 17th, 2010 11:46 am
By Erik Heinrich, courtesy of TIME
Cisco’s CRS-3 router made a bit of a splash when it was announced on March 9, but the power of this new device hasn’t yet sunk in. Consider: The CRS-3, a network routing system, is able to stream every film ever made, from Hollywood to Bombay, in under four minutes. That’s right — the whole universe of films digested in less time than it takes to boil an egg. That may sound like good news for consumers, but it could be the business equivalent of an earthquake for the likes of Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures.
Most people are familiar with routers, or desktop boxes used to provide connectivity between PCs, laptops and printers in a home or small office. These are tiny geckos compared with theT. rexes used by telcos such as Verizon and AT&T to distribute data among computer networks and provide Internet connectivity to millions of homes and wireless subscribers.
As it turns out, these megarouters sitting inside data centers of major telcos and cablecos are among the biggest bottlenecks of the Internet, because as bandwidth speed to end users has shot up in recent years, router technology has not kept up, resulting in traffic jams that can slow or freeze downloads.
Cisco’s superrouter is expected to turn what is now the equivalent of a country road into an eight-late superhighway for Internet data traffic, including 3-D video, university lectures and feature films such as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and The Twilight Saga: New Moon. "Video is the big driver behind all this," says analyst Akshay Sharma of technology-research company Gartner Inc., noting that voice and texting will soon be overtaken by richer multimedia content and applications.
While it’s already possible to stream a feature film in real time, in the best-case scenario it takes about two hours to download to a personal film archive, at home or on a mobile device, for repeat viewing. With the predictable slowdowns and interruptions now so common, the process can eat up four hours or more of computer time — to say nothing of time lost managing the process.
But routers are not the only cause of bottlenecks, and Cisco is not alone in working to maximize the Internet’s full potential. Google is also concerned about the speed limitations imposed by wires that run to the home. Last…
by ilene - March 10th, 2010 10:18 am
Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker
Cisco CRS-3, powered by Cisco QuantumFlow Array – a chipset architecture engineered in multiple dimensions of scale, services, and savings.
That’s the announcement. It was the cause of all the hype. A "new dimension" that works within their existing CRS framework.
Basically, a faster version of the CRS-1.
The San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco had sent out invitations to analysts and the media for a "significant announcement" that it says "will forever change the Internet and its impact on consumers, businesses and governments."
You’d think there was some new technology. Something that nobody had seen before. Something revolutionary.
You would be dead wrong.
Now don’t get me wrong – more speed is good, of course. More capacity is good. More density – an increasing problem for various network folks, is never a bad thing, although there’s no such thing as a free lunch – more capacity in a smaller space comes with higher power requirements and heat loading, which in turn invalidates assumptions made by carriers, ISPs and others on the adequacy of power and cooling systems in their machine rooms – sometimes with extremely expensive consequences.
But "forever change the Internet and its impact on consumers, businesses and governments"?
This reminds me of the hype when the CISCO 7xxx carrier series routes were introduced in the 1990s. These were "going to change the Internet forever" too.
But that was a forced upgrade CISCO was able to capitalize on due to their near-monopoly position in the core routing space at the time.
What was only known to people who understood the Internet at the time (myself included) was that the reason that device garnered instant acceptance and huge order flow was that the Internet’s routing table was exceeding the storage capacity of the CISCO AGS+ which was, at that point, mostly at the core of the network. Carrier routers were literally crashing as a consequence of running out of memory, and the architecture of the AGS+, which was roughly-based on the VME backplane architecture and the Motorola 68xxx processor…
by ilene - February 3rd, 2010 6:38 pm
Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker
NEW YORK (TheStreet) — When Cisco last took the stage in November, CEO John Chambers predicted an uplift in business. He didn’t mention at the time that the company would offer to lend a hand in the form of zero-percent financing.
Taking a page from the automakers’ playbook circa 2002, Cisco introduced three-year, interest-free financing for its small and mid-sized business customers last week. The cheap loans are sure to help juice sales to cash-strapped customers far and wide.
Uh, no. That’s not the playbook of automakers circa 2002.
It is the playbook of Lucent circa 1997.
Need I remind anyone how that story ended?
Lucent "sold" a metric boatload of hardware on capital financing at essentially zero interest terms to Winstar Communications – the firm that bought my Internet company – along with many others.
Winstar (and others) ultimately defaulted, unable to make their business goals turn into actual long-term cash flow.
Lawsuits flew and ultimately Winstar folded, all but destroying Lucent in the process, as they were stuck with an unbelievable amount of financed hardware that was not only generating no cash flow but which had depreciated (as all computer and network equipment does) to an insane degree the moment it was put into service.
Lucent – one of the most-storied technological companies ever to exist in the United States, the spun-off parent of Bell Labs that had years ago invented the transistor and slung us into the digital age and which held a solid majority of all telephone switch business in the United States, was later essentially forced to merge with Alcatel to avoid bankruptcy.
This is Ponzi-style financing and John Chambers knows better, having survived the 2000 tech crash in no small part because he didn’t do the same thing that Lucent did and thus didn’t get hammered by the defaults when the bust came.
The market has paid exactly zero attention to this "contribution" to CISCO’s sales, and it won’t in the immediate future either. You can count on it. I’m willing to bet there will not be one mainstream analyst who will point this out tomorrow morning in a research report and…