The San Jose, Calif., computer networking giant added telecom gearmaker
to its list of sales partners. More important, though, the company said a
unit was among the first paying customers for Cisco's eagerly anticipated, long-delayed mega router.
SoftBank BB, a broadband service unit of Tokyo venture capital giant Softbank, agreed to buy Cisco's CRS-1 router. The news comes as Cisco tries to win back market share in sales of the Internet traffic sorting devices from upstart rival
. Cisco is an investment partner with Softbank, having invested $1 billion in the Japanese venture capital fund in January 2001.
The announcements come as Cisco is hosting a three-day analyst conference, featuring a keynote address from CEO John Chambers scheduled for 11:15 a.m. EST Tuesday.
Cisco also named a pair of other CRS-1 customers, Japan's National Institute for Informatics and at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. Analysts say Cisco now has four paying customers for the CRS-1, and 14 companies are using the router on a trial basis. Among those is
, Cisco says.
Cisco was late with its mega router, which it introduced after several delays in May. Now, six months later, Cisco says it finally has a few paying customers for the massive Internet traffic sorter.
But Juniper has beaten Cisco to the market with a big core router of its own. The lead has helped Juniper increase its router business at Cisco's expense. In the third quarter ended in September, Juniper gained 5 percentage points, taking its market share to 38%. During that same period, Cisco saw its share of the market fall to 62% from 67%.
Juniper also has been
aggressive with discounts to help win customers like the
away from Cisco.
Cisco shares rose 8 cents to $19.51 and Juniper was up 29 cents to $28.83 in early trading Monday.