LAS VEGAS ( TheStreet) -- Cisco ( CSCO) chief John Chambers sees the tech sector consolidating in the hands of fewer players, namely Oracle ( ORCL), IBM ( IBM) and Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) -- and he promises that Cisco will be among those left standing.

Like others, Cisco's road to tech's elite status is paved with mergers. And Chambers says he has a blueprint that helps determine each move.
John Chambers
Cisco Systems chairman and CEO John Chambers

"Our play is on industry architecture, not consolidation. It's how everything ties together," said Chambers in an exclusive interview with TheStreet's James Rogers at last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Just as hammerers see everything as nails, networkers see everything as a connections. Chambers says routers lead to switches and switches lead to security, which leads to video, entertainment, cloud computing and data centers. And these connections spread across business systems and phone networks to any device with content, says Chambers.

"We are the only player that is playing that," says Chambers.

Outfits like Apple ( AAPL) and Google ( GOOG) might take issue with that assertion, arguing that they are playing in the very same game. But Cisco, with Web tech equipment comprising its core, has defensible claims to being the provider of building blocks for a networked future.

Given the company's buyout history -- snatching up 87 companies in ten years -- and its $5 billion in cash and $30 billion in investments on its books, you can be sure that Cisco will stay on a steady acquisition course.

-- Written by Scott Moritz in New York


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