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Cisco buys into security

by Scott Bicheno on 28 October 2009, 11:36

Tags: Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO)

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Busy month for Cisco's bank manager

It's generally acknowledged that recessions create bargains for those who can still afford to buy, but surely networking giant Cisco is getting a bit carried away this year.

Cisco started slowly last year with the acquisitions of Pure Networks and Jabber, but the worsening recession just seems to have spurred it into ever-greater acts of extravagance.

First it took the remarkable step of moving into the data centre market, then it bought entry-level video camera company Pure Digital for $590 million. This was merely an hors d'oeuvre, however, as Cisco swooped for video conferencing company Tandberg for $3 billion at the start of this month, then matched that figure when it acquired mobile infrastructure outfit Starent Networks a mere 12 days later.

Today comes the news that Cisco is buying SaaS web security solutions provider ScanSafe for a piffling $183 million in cash. "With the acquisition of ScanSafe, Cisco is executing on our vision to build a borderless network security architecture that combines network and cloud-based services for advanced security enforcement," said Tom Gillis, VP and GM of Cisco's security technology business unit (STBU).

Cisco clearly wants to be the one-stop-shop for all enterprise networking and communications needs, and with all these recent acquisitions and the distinct possibility of more to come, it's getting increasingly hard to bet against it achieving that aim.

One possible future fly in the ointment, however, would be anti-trust regulation. You have to wonder how much longer Cisco can keep buying up companies without regulators having a word.


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