Cisco Actively Buying Enterprise Startups, Backs Away from Consumer Market

Cisco just acquired Cognitive Security for an undisclosed sum. The Prague-based startup makes networking monitoring software that analyzes big data to identify potential threats.

Cisco Head of Corporate Business Development Hilton Romanski announced the news in a statement and commented that “Cognitive Security’s technology identifies and detects security anomalies, and when coupled with the network for mitigation, allows Cisco to uniquely address our customers’ security requirements.”

The entire Cognitive team is joining Cisco and will now report to Chris Young, the head of Cisco’s network security business.  Romanski said that one of the first items on the agenda will be strengthening the startup’s joint research program with the Czech Technical University, a big contributor to the field.

The Cognitive buy comes just days after Cisco announced the acquisition of Intucell for nearly half a billion dollars. The Israeli firm developed a widely-used carrier platform that applies software-defined networking principals to cellular towers.

Cisco has been extremely active in the M&A scene lately.  The recent acquisition of two international companies is joined by rumors that the vendor hired a bank to help it sell Linksys.

The networking equipment maker bought Linksys, a maker of home connectivity solutions, nearly a decade ago in hopes of expanding its business to the consumer space.  What ended up happening is that Cisco shelled out $500 million for a one-way ticket to a fiercely competitive, low-margin  market that it couldn’t monetize due to a combination of changing market conditions and bad decision making.

In the last two years, CEO John Chambers has cut thousands of jobs and pulled the plug on two of his company’s top consumer products in an effort to reinforce its focus on the enterprise market.   Now it’s finally Linksys’ turn to go.