Industry bellwether and network bits supplier also known as Cisco surprised the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street by posting a shallower-than-expected 5.5 percent drop in quarterly revenue.
It was not as bad as it could have been because demand in regions like the United States and Northern Europe picked up and helped offset sluggish sales in emerging markets.
The company posted gross margins of 62.7 percent in its fiscal third quarter, up from 53.3 percent in the previous quarter and above guidance of 61 to 62 percent.
Cisco has been suffering as its server business faced competition from so-called software-defined networks (SDN) , which offer software that can run on cheap hardware. It has been saved by its Nexus 9000 switches, which can adapt to flows in workloads brought on by cloud computing, and big data.
Nexus 9000 grew to a user base of 175 customers, up from 20 customers last quarter.
Analysts shrugged and said that it was about as solid of a quarter as you can expect with some good margins.
Product orders in the US rose seven percent from one year ago, with enterprise and commercial orders rising more than 10 percent. Order strength in northern Europe was up four percent year-over-year.
The problems were in emerging markets where Cisco has been facings increased competition. Generally orders fell seven percent, with Brazil down 27 percent and Russia down 28 percent.
Cisco’s Chief Executive Officer John Chambers predicted a gross margin of 62.7 percent for the fourth quarter. Cisco had a net profit of $2.2 billion in the fiscal third quarter, down from $2.5 billion in the year-ago quarter.
The company increased its cash dividend in the third quarter to $0.19 per common share.
Cisco reported revenue of $11.5 billion, down from $12.2 billion a year earlier. Wall Street on average had expected $11.36 billion.
The EFF has asked a US court to allow Cisco to be sued for its role in contributing to human rights abuses against the Falun Gong religious minority in China.
For those who came in late, China has been particularly nasty to the Falun Gong religion and arrested, tortured and killed some of its followers. These human rights violations have been well-documented by the UN, the US State Department and were possible thanks to China’s use of sophisticated surveillance technologies.
An EFF spokesman said that technology is the result of some hard work on the part of Cisco which purposefully customised its general purpose router technology to allow the Chinese government to identify, track, and detain Falun Gong members.
This included the building of a library of carefully analysed patterns of Falun Gong Internet activity that enable the Chinese government to identify Falun Gong Internet users. There was also a log/alert systems that provide the Chinese government with real time monitoring and notification based on Falun Gong Internet traffic patterns and software for storing data profiles on individual Falun Gong practitioners for use during interrogation.
Cisco was involved in the creation of software for categorizing individual Falun Gong practitioners by their likely susceptibility to different methods of “forced conversion,” the EFF claims.
The EFF claims to have evidence that the highly advanced video and image analyzers that Cisco marketed as the “only product capable of recognizing over 90 per cent of Falun Gong pictorial information”.
This allowed the creation of a nationwide video surveillance system which enabled the Chinese government to identify and detain Falun Gong practitioners.
The suit also alleges that Cisco not only knew that its customizations would be used to repress the Falun Gong, but actively marketed, sold, and supported the technologies anyway.
The EFF lawyers have their work cut out. Another case, also involving Cisco from last year decided that a tech company could not be held accountable when governments misuse general use products for nefarious purposes.
However it argues that the allegations here are that Cisco has done far more than sell standard router technology and services to the Chinese authorities and that they customised the gear.
The Chinese government has reacted badly to Google’s decision to redirect its search engine from google.cn to google.hk.
According to the People’s Daily, officials in the State Council Information Office broke a pledge it made.
The newspaper said that Google had broken a written promise it made when it entered the Chinese market. It had promised to censor its search and was insuating that China was to blame for hacker attacks made earlier this year.
An unnamed official told the newspaper: “We’re uncompromisingly opposed to the politicisation of commercial issues, and express our discontent and indignation to Google for its unreasonable accusations and conducts.”
Google’s move, however, is largely symbolic. Even if a Chinese citizen accesses google.hk and tries to search for forbidden topics such as Tibet, Taiwan or the Falun Gong, the Great Firewall of China won’t allow people to see stuff.
The official said the government had met Google several times to iron out an agreement. The Chinese government is adamant, however, that foreign companies have to abide by its own laws.
Google has decided it is so much like Big Brother in George Orwell’s 1984 that it will defy Big Sister China by uncensoring Google.cn and redirecting it to google.hk.
That’s Hong Kong – part of Greater China. It’s an aggressive act, typical of Eric Schmidt. A trigger reaction.
Google took the step after it seemed inevitable if it didn’t leave the Chinese mainland it would be kicked out of the Chinese mainland, as we reported first thing today.
But moving to Hong Kong may be a step too far, even for the egregious Google. Although Hong Kong is supposed to be a democracy, it isn’t, and the tentacles of the Chinese state go everywhere in Asia. Except India, naturally. And Taiwan, the Republic of China (ROC). Hong Kong is definitely mainland China’s territory. Tibet and Taiwan aren’t. Nor Nepal, nor Bhutan.
Let’s face it.
If anyone is watching you, it’s Google. And Google is becoming positively big-brotherish as its tentacles reach into every corner of our everyday lives.
From Streetview, to Google Search, to the Android telephone operating system, Google is omnipresent.
“In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the police patrol, snooping into people’s windows. The patrols did not matter however. Only the Thought Police mattered.” – George Orwell, 1984.
The Chinese state organs we reported on first thing this morning are quite right. Google is policitising itself. And no one wants Google to be watching us. Whether in Eurasia or in Oceania.
So stop trying to pretend you’re not evil, Google. You are. You are Big Brother. Outside George Orwell’s former house in London are many, many CCTV cameras. Surely some mistake?
A senior minister in the Chinese government has told Google it has to obey its laws and not dick about removing censorship from its site.
Li Yizhong, the minister of Industry and Information Technology, told a reporter at a press conference today that Google has to respect Chinese rules.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Li said that if Google violates Chinese internet laws, it is “unfriendly and irresponsible” and will have to take the consequences of its actions.
Google said in January that it was to stop censoring its Chinese website, leading to cries of indignation from the totalitarian state. China censors a number of foreign sites and is particularly interested in suppressing information about Taoist sect the Falun Gong and any references to a free Tibet or to the Dalai Lama.
References to an independent Taiwan don’t make it very happy either – it believes the island belongs to it.
Earlier this week, Eric Schmidt said Google continued to have talks with the Chinese government, although it’s unclear what’s being ironed out behind the scenes. The Wall Street Journal is here.