Networking technology giant Cisco has seen a lot of change in the past year. Long-time CEO and Silicon Valley luminary John Chambers became Cisco’s executive chairman, while Chuck Robbins, a high-ranking Cisco sales executive who Chambers once called an “execution machine,” took over as CEO. Chamber now leads a company that faces a rapidly changing technology industry in which more businesses seem to be buying less data center hardware and more cloud computing services from companies like Amazon and Microsoft. The rise of the cloud has put pressure on Cisco to expand beyond its legacy networking gear business, which still brings in billions of dollars each quarter. Over the past year, Cisco has made a series of high-profile acquisitions, including a $1.4 billion dollar purchase of Internet-of-things specialist Jasper Technologies and a $635 million dollar buyout of cybersecurity startup OpenDNS. Indeed, Cisco wants to capitalize on the hot fields of cybersecurity and the Internet of things, in which devices like factory robots and elevators can be connected to the web. The technology titan has made it clear it will spend big bucks on companies to ensure it can lead in those areas. Time will tell if those mega investments will pay off.
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