Network equipment giant Cisco is planning to build a new European software development center in Stockley Park, West of London, next year, and it now seems likely that UK will become the base for Cisco’s technology research in Europe. At the same time, the company hinted it might take a more active stance in looking for European companies to acquire. Mike Volpi, vice president of business development, said last month that the company was looking for a European nucleus somewhere, we don’t know where. But CFO Larry Carter confirmed that the company has signed a lease so that it can extend its facilities there, which will include the new software development center. The move follows an internal debate within Cisco over how its so-called ‘Acquisition and Development’ strategy can exploit European expertise and address the European market. It is a Cisco rule that companies it buys are located near a major, existing Cisco center of expertise – and with a few small exceptions, this has always meant that they are based in the Bay area. Among the technologies that the European software center is likely to address are ISDN, X.25 support, ATM and IP integration and use of optic technologies. James Fremantle, head of Northern Europe for Cisco said that the company’s policy of preferring Northern Californian acquisition targets is under review. There is certain technology and expertise we might find in Europe that is more relevant to, and even superior to, what we might find in the US.
This article first appeared in Computer Business Review.