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Cisco CEO not big on spin-ins

Jim Duffy | Nov. 17, 2015
Robbins favors small, internal "start-up" teams over funding and acquiring companies.

All spin-ins have turned into billion dollar businesses for Cisco, and billionaires for the founders.

“(Spin-in) has been very strategic for us in certain areas, but I also believe (in) what we’re seeing now with some of these internal start-ups,” Robbins says. “We isolate these small teams, we give them what they need, we allow them to step outside of the day-to-day operational side of the business and focus on innovation. And give them big hairy problems to solve. And we’ve seen some early success so we’re going to accelerate that. At some point if there’s something going on that would lead us to need to do a spin-in, we’d certainly look at that as an option. But while this model works I think it’s actually more effective for our teams and I think it gets us there faster.”

In addition to internals start-ups, Cisco has $2 billion invested in start-ups around the globe, Robbins says. And partnerships like those recently announced with Ericsson and Apple could help align all of these investments into a product development assembly line.

“In lieu of looking at large acquisition strategies, joint development can bring solutions to the customer the next day,” Robbins said. “Customers are making decisions on what they believe they’ll get from us in the future.”


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