Cisco Systems is the worldwide leading supplier of networking equipment for the internet. The company sells hardware (routers and switches), software, and services that make most of the internet work. Cisco was founded in 1984 by a husband and wife team who worked in the computer operations department at Stanford University. They named the company cisco – with a lowercase c, short for San Francisco, and developed a logo that resembled the Golden gate Bridge, which they frequently traveled.
Cisco went public in 1990 and the two founders left the company shortly thereafter, due to conflicting interests with the new president and CEO. Over the next decade, the company grew exponentially, led by new product launches such as patented routers, switches, platforms, and modems – which significantly contributed to the backbone of the Internet. Cisco opened its first international offices in London and France in 1991 and has opened a number of new international offices since then. During the 1990s, Cisco acquired and successfully integrated 49 companies into its core business. As a result, the company’s market capitalization grew faster than for any company in history – from $1 billion to $300 billion between 1991 and 1999. In March 2000, Cisco became the most valuable company in the world, with market capitalization peaking at $582 billion or $82 per share.
By the end of the 20th century, although the company was extremely successful, brand awareness was low – Cisco was known to many for its stock price rather than for what it actually did. Cisco developed partnerships with Sony, Matsushita, and US West to co-brand its modems with Cisco logo in hopes of building its name recognition and brand value. In addition, the company launched its first television spots as part of a campaign entitled “Are you ready?” in the ads, children and adults from around the world delivered facts about the power of the Internet and challenged viewers to ponder, “Are you ready?”...
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