Greenberg: Cisco as a Value Tech Stock?

SAN DIEGO (TheStreet) -- Listening to Cisco's  (CSCO) earnings call last night was painful.

CEO John Chambers mentioned transition (or some derivative) 27 times. (Considerably more than any time in the past year.)

And picking up on a theme that he has used in recent quarters, he talked about the "Internet of Everything" 16 times. (The record was 20 times at last year's analyst day.)

To give the full context, he said:

In our view, this next wave of the Internet, the Internet of Everything, will encompass every technology transition we are seeing in the market today, with the network squarely at the center. We are building the platform for the Internet of Everything with scale and security to address the unparalleled complexity requirements. We plan to continue to disrupt the market and disrupt ourselves to deliver the value and solutions our customers require.

Sounds good on paper, but the proof is in the numbers: Sales down 8%. Forecast for another down 6% to 8%. Gross margin of 53.3%. A quarter ago and year ago it was north of 60%. Don't even go to earnings.

While the "Internet of Everything" is a catchy phrase, it suggests to me one thing: No matter how much it is trying to reinvent itself, including it's goal to be "the No. 1 IT company," Cisco is now the king of a commoditized industry whose products have largely morphed into the mature/upgrade phase of their lives.

"Managing transition has been a core foundation for our success for nearly 30 years," says Chambers, who was on my list of nominees for last year's worst CEO.

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