Cisco in Perspective

(NEW YORK) TheStreet-- We know that Cisco's (CSCO) purchased UK based video software maker NDS Group for $5 billion, but past that it gets dicey. If you hear the media, those reductive little devils, tell it, Cisco's purchase signified...well, about 1,423 separate things.

To Marketwatch, the deal showed that Cisco had a lot of cash and was going to spend it overseas. The headline said: "Cisco burns $5 billion abroad on NDS acquisition." The first two sentences add that the takeover primarily "shows just how much cash the technology behemoth has...most of it is overseas."

The Financial Times barely mentioned the cash-held-overseas issue and instead held that the takeaway from the deal was that Cisco was back on the takeover prowl. The headline ran: "Cisco back on deal trail with $5bn NDS move." Its deal "drought," we are told in the first sentence, is officially over.

For its part, Bloomberg went back overseas, but in a different direction. They dedicated a headline to a contention from the finance minister of Israel that the acquisition was a "show of faith" in Israeli-technology, a reach.

Who is right? Well, nobody so far. The media simplifies and in simplifying shrinks our scope of understanding and leave factors--important factors--behind.

If you are talking primary reason for the acquisition, The Wall Street Journal hit on it in its lead: "Cisco Systems showed a renewed eagerness to deliver video content to cable set-top boxes and other new devices."

Got that? This deal is primarily, with apologies to he media flailing about for motivation, about Cisco keeping pace with Apple ( AAPL), Google ( GOOG) and Intel ( INTC) efforts to supplant cable companies like Time Warner, Cablevision and Comcast. And that's the end of a discussion that sprayed out in way too many directions.

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