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Cisco Systems, Inc. is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. Cisco operates in one industry segment and creates hardware and software solutions that link computer networks so that people have easy access to information without regard to differences in time, place or type of computer system.
Networking is a multi-billion dollar global market whose growth is spurred by the belief that the Internet is changing the way we all work, live, play and learn. Over the last year, there has been a key shift in the role of the Internet and in how the Internet is perceived. What was once a fairly complex tool used by an elite group of highly technical individuals is now a technology driving economic change globally by creating new jobs and market opportunities.
The Company markets its products through its direct sales force, single and two-tier distributors, value-added resellers, service providers and system integrators. This multiple-channel approach allows customers to select the channel that addresses their specific needs and provides the Company with broad coverage of worldwide markets.
Customers benefit from Cisco networking solutions through more efficient exchange of information, which in turn leads to cost savings, process efficiencies, and closer relationships with customers, prospects, business partners, suppliers, and employees. Cisco solutions are the networking foundation for companies, universities, utilities, and government agencies worldwide.
The Company was founded in late 1984 by a small group of computer scientists from Stanford University seeking an easier way to connect different types of computer systems. Cisco Systems shipped its first product in 1986. Since then, Cisco has grown into a multinational corporation with over 10,000 employees in more than 200 offices in 54 countries. Cisco's products encompass the broadest range of networking solutions available from any single supplier. These solutions include routers, LAN and WAN switches, dial and other access solutions, SNA-LAN integration solutions, Web site management tools, Internet appliances, and network management software. The thread that ties these products together is the Cisco IOSJ software platform, which delivers network services and enables networked applications. Cisco's offerings also include industry-leading customer services for network design, implementation, maintenance, and support.
Cisco is unique in its ability to provide all these elements, either by itself or together with partners. Cisco serves customers in three target markets
Enterprises - Large organization with complex networking needs, usually spanning multiple locations and types of computer systems. Enterprise customers include corporations, government agencies, utilities and educational institutions. Service Providers - Companies that provide information services including telecommunication carriers, Internet Service Providers, cable companies, and wireless communication providers. Small/Medium Business - Companies with a need for data networks of their own, as well as connection to the Internet and/or to business partners.
Cisco sells its products in 90 countries through a direct sales force, distributors, value-added resellers and system integrators. Cisco has headquarters in San Jose, CA. It also has major operations in Research Triangle Park, NC, and Chelmsford, MA; as well more than 200 sales and support offices in 54 countries.
In contrast to many technology companies, Cisco does not take a rigid approach that favors one technology over the alternatives and imposes it on customers as the only answer. Cisco's philosophy is to listen to customer requests, monitor all technological alternatives, and provide customers with a range of options from which to choose. Cisco develops its products and solutions around widely accepted industry standards. In some instances, technologies developed by Cisco have become industry standards themselves.
Every day, Cisco and its customers are proving that networking and the Internet can fundamentally and profitably change the way companies do business. Cisco describes this change in the "Global Networked Business". A Global Networked Business is an enterprise, of any size, that strategically uses information and communications to build a network of strong, interactive relationships with all its key constituencies.
The Global Networked Business model opens the corporate information infrastructure to all key constituencies, leveraging the network for competitive advantage. The Global Networked Business model employs a self-help model of information access that is more efficient and responsive than the traditional model of a few information gatekeepers dispensing data as they see fit. Cisco itself is a leading example of a Global Networked Business. By using networked applications, the Internet and its own internal network, Cisco is saving at least $300 million a year in operating costs, while improving customer/partner satisfaction and gaining a competitive advantage in areas such as customer support, product ordering and delivery times. Cisco is today the world's largest Internet commerce site, selling more than $6 million in products every business day.
Cisco is one of America's greatest corporate success stories. Since shipping its first product in 1986, the company has grown into a global market leader that holds No. 1 or No. 2 market share in virtually every market segment in which it participates. Since becoming a public company in 1990, Cisco's annual revenues have increased from $69 million in that year to $6.44 billion in fiscal 1998, nearly one hundred-fold in seven years. As measured by market capitalization, Cisco is the third largest company on NASDAQ and among the top 40 in the world.
Fiscal 1998 was another successful year for Cisco Systems. Their annual growth rate of 57 percent meant that they grew at a faster pace than any of their traditional competitors. The reasons for this are clear. Organizations of all sizes are beginning to recognize the value of their information networks and the Internet as a source of business advant

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