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I agree with much of the article but the reference to Cisco is off the mark. While they did make some disastrously expensive exceptions in the telecom bubble, for the most part Cisco was very disciplined about acquiring actual product that fit clearly into their existing product portfolios and sales channels. I'm not sure there's a single example where they really acquired talent with the intention of shutting down the product. Of their worst acquisitions of 1999 - Cerent, Monterrey, Sentient, MaxComm, WebLine, Tasmania, Aironet, V-Bits and WDS - which ones are you saying were designed as acquihires? I believe that in each of them, Cisco (mistakenly) thought they were buying product or at least technology that would fit into its portfolio. This is very different from the acquihires of today, where the acquiror knows from the start that they are going to be shutting down the product entirely and just moving the engineers to existing efforts.
2 years ago on The Acqui-hire Scourge: Whatever Happened to Failure in Silicon Valley?