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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 100 11:20:58 -0700
Subject: Cisco/Stanford News.
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by David Bunnell
In a move that guarantees his company will never run short of qualified
technology workers, Cisco Systems (CSCO) CEO John Chambers will soon
announce the acquisition of Stanford University for $100 billion in Cisco
This stunning deal, which will change the face of American academia for
decades to come, was made possible when Stanford recently promoted John
Hennessy, the dean of its School of Engineering, to the position of
No stranger to the sometimes-blurry relationship between universities and
high-tech companies, Hennessy in 1981 initiated the RISC (Reduced
Instruction Set Computer) technology project at the university, and then
during a sabbatical in 1984-85 he co-founded a company called MIPS Computer
System that produced microprocessors based on this same technology.
MIPS was later sold to another Stanford spinout, Sun Microsystems (SUNW),
which made Hennessy very wealthy.
Don't panic. While the Cisco deal has yet to be made public, I have learned
that Hennessy has already sought to reassure nervous Stanford faculty
members that the university will maintain its high academic standards.
According to one of my sources, he has also reassured the faculty that no
one will lose his or her job as a result of being merged into the world's
biggest "Internet plumbing company."
"Cisco has never laid off anyone," Hennessy says, "and since all our
professors will get Cisco stock options, I expect the vast majority will
want to stay here for many years to come. In fact, Stanford will have more
millionaires on its staff than all the other universities put together.
I expect to be flooded with applications from old-economy universities like
Harvard and Yale."
Barbara Beck, Cisco's senior vice president of human resources, backed up
Hennessy's statements with the observation that, while Cisco has never
employed such a large group of professors, she is "totally, like totally
confident that the cultures of the two organizations are totally
Chambers, who recently visited the campus, admitted that the price of $100
billion was a bit on the high side but observed that it was in stock that
he called "grossly overvalued Cisco dollars."
UpsideToday has learned that Chambers plans to offer free tuition to
computer science and engineering students who agree to work for life at
Cisco following graduation. Plans are also under way to extend this program
to MBA students.
"We need people in our marketing and accounting departments as well as
technologists," Chambers says.
The company has no plans to change the curriculum. "We'll still have art
and music and, of course, football," adds Hennessy, who will become Cisco's
vice president of universities.
On the playing field. On a lighter note, there is discussion under way to
change the name of the school to "Cisco Stanford University" and rename
the sports teams from the "Cardinals" to the "Routers." Stanford football
director Tyrone Willingham says that the new name is "very appropriate,
because we pass the ball more than any other college team."
Industry analysts who I've talked to believe that the acquisition is a
natural fit and will enhance Cisco's stock value even more. David Readerman
of Thomas Weisel Partners was particularly enthusiastic. "What you get
out of this is a smarter Cisco and a better-connected Stanford," he says.
Assuming this deal goes through and works out, other companies will be
lining up to acquire universities. A Microsoft (MSFT) acquisition of the
University of Washington would be a natural, as would an Apple (APPL)
acquisition of University of California at Berkeley.
It's a whole new era for education, that's for sure.
Editor's disclaimer: David Bunnell likes to write but doesn't have the time
to actually do any real reporting, so he simply makes up his articles and
then forces the staff to run them. Nothing in the above piece is true,
except in his mind.
David Bunnell is editor and CEO of UPSIDE.
© 2000 Peter Langston