Cisco Systems, Inc. is an American multinational corporation that designs and sells consumer electronics, networking and communications technology and services. Headquartered in San Jose, California, USA, Cisco has more than 65,000 employees and annual revenue of US$36.11 billion as of 2009.
Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner, a married couple who worked as computer operations staff at Stanford University, later joined by Richard Troiano, founded Cisco Systems in 1984. Lerner moved on to direct computer services at Schlumberger, moving full time to Cisco in 1987. The name "Cisco" was derived from the city name, San Francisco, which is why the company's engineers insisted on using the lower case "cisco" in the early days. For Cisco's first product, Bosack adapted multiple-protocol router software originally written some years before by William Yeager, another Stanford employee who later joined Sun Microsystems. The company's first CEO was Bill Graves, who held the position from 1987 to 1988. In 1988, John Morgridge was appointed CEO, and was succeeded in 1995 by John Chambers.
Networks are one of the least attractive businesses in the world. They consist mainly of routers, switches, servers, and software that compose local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and the remote access network. Cisco began by offering high-end routers primarily for the LAN market. Routers are the stand-alone boxes that can network traffic and send it along to the proper address.
However, in 1993 Cisco changed its strategy and began to diversify into other network markets and technologies. Its competitors have done the same, building companies that could offer one-stop networking solutions.
While Cisco was not the first company to develop and sell a router, it was one of the first to sell commercially successful routers supporting multiple network protocols. As the Internet Protocol (IP) became widely adopted, the importance of multi-protocol...