Yet, despite what has been a difficult transition to "mature status" for Cisco, investors continue to forget that the company still owns 60% of the routing and switching business.
This is a testament to not only the quality of the company's product portfolio, but also to how loyal Cisco's customers have remained. Meanwhile the company's management has been executing as well as can be expected, reducing costs and trimming the fat from the company's less-than-favorable acquisitions.
Aside from maintaining its momentum, Cisco's current challenge is figuring out ways to fight off the competition -- from the usual suspects, such as the aforementioned F5 and HP, but also new entrants such as Palo Alto Networks (PANW - Get Report).
Palo Alto in its first earnings report as a publicly traded company produced not only year-over-year revenue growth of 90%, but grew that number by 15% over the prior quarter.Although Palo Alto is in the early stages of its business, it is hard for even a well-established company like Cisco to ignore numbers like these. Nonetheless, Cisco still offers many market and enterprise advantages that smaller rivals can only hope to duplicate. Though Cisco may no longer be able to grow to the extent that it did in the late '90s, in many respects its "new growth spurt" has likely just begun. But where's the love?