A social strategy? Cisco entered this market with a product called Quad enterprise social networking, re-branded it to WebEx, its online conferencing product, and has now abandoned it in favor of working with Jive Software (JIVE).
The Internet of Things? The general manager of that group, Guido Jouret, quietly resigned this month to be replaced by Rod Soderbery, general manager for enterprise networking.
Now Chambers is telling his troops that security will be a key focus and loudly proclaiming Cisco will "crush" VMware (VMW) in the cloud with a software-defined networking unit called Insieme. Chambers also proclaims interest in the public cloud market with an offering called InterCloud but its strategy there is called fuzzy at best.
None of these new technology areas -- consumer, social, Internet of Things, or even cloud -- has produced a positive hit to revenue. Cisco's latest quarter was driven by mobile carriers increasing their network capacity in the U.S. and northern Europe, while sales in emerging markets sagged.
That's why the technology press is quietly hearing rumors that Chambers may be heading out the door. He turns 65 this year and, while he's as legendary in his business as Larry Ellison of Oracle (ORCL) is in database software, he occupies a fading niche.
John Chambers and Cisco may be able to fool Wall Street, but how much longer can they fool Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley?
At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.