Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cisco's Transatlantic Move?*

A world-leading builder of network equipment flattens the world.

Phew! This "world-flattening" stuff sure is gathering steam. It's just a few days since Wisden, that great cricketing icon, said it is moving the global headquarters of Cricinfo ("the home of cricket on the internet"), from London to Bangalore.

Now, here's bigger news for world-flatteners everywhere (it sure had me flattened!): Steve Hamm, BusinessWeek's admirable technology writer, reports in his new blog on speculation that Cisco will soon announce it's second global headquarters guessed it, Bangalore. Says the worthy gentleman,
"This is the first time that a major US technology company has established a corporate headquarters in India, and it's yet another sign of the growing importance of India on the world technology map".

Breathtaking** and heady stuff indeed. But before we break out the bubbly, here's some cause for pause: a spokesperson for Cisco India was asked if this is true. Here's his clarification:

"Cisco's corporate headquarters remain out of San Jose, California. We have made no announcement on the change of status in our corporate headquarters. What we have stated is that Wim Elfrink, senior VP, customer advocacy, will be relocating to India at the beginning of the calendar year to help lead Cisco's commitment and investments in India."

Cisco is a company whose influence stretches well beyond just commercial clout. US House Speaker-designate Nance Pelosi has said that Cisco CEO John Chambers will likely be one of the industry leaders that she will "consult regularly".

And by building a good deal of the equipment that powers the internet, Cisco can claim to have contributed much to the world-flattening that the internet has brought about. Now, will they go the whole hog? I guess we'll just have to wait for an answer. It's going to be an interesting wait.

* Couldn't help noticing a wee bit of irony here. Cis is a Latin word meaning "on this side of", and is the opposite of trans, which means "across" or "on the other side of". Tongue-in-cheek suggestion: maybe they should first change their name to Transco..

** If you're in Bangalore (as I am), you may want to go a bit easy on the "breathtaking" part: the air quality is none too great these days... (tongue in cheek..just tongue in cheek...!!)