Cisco's Chambers: "zero chance" of blockbuster merger

Cisco's Chambers: "zero chance" of blockbuster merger

Cross off Cisco Systems as an entrant in this season's tech merger mania, which has seen more action than the blockbuster movies.

In an eye-opening New York Times interview with Seth Schiesel, Cisco honcho John Chambers said the networking giant will go it alone after alliance talks with both Lucent Technologies and Northern Telecom broke down.

The reasons for the failures? Neither company wanted to give up the market for high-speed Net switches - which Cisco has been dominating - in light of their recent deals with Sprint and Qwest Communications International More interestingly, Chambers said a deal with Lucent or Nortel would be a disaster for shareholders because of the culture clash between old-guard East Coast telecomms and new-school West Coast tech.

"Lucent is trying to compete in a New World environment when they're an Old World company in terms of the rules of the Internet economy," he said.

The fighting words come easy now that talks have broken off, Lucent has sued Cisco over patents and Nortel announced a deal with Bay Networks, a Cisco rival. Schiesel doesn't take the next logical step of laying odds on Cisco's future, saying the market seems to like all three stocks.

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