Benner on Tech: Cisco's New Boss Feels Like Its Old Boss

Katie Benner's roundup of the most interesting things in tech, today.

People are Talking About ...

John Chambers has so thoroughly embodied Cisco Systems Inc. for so long that it was a genuine surprise when he named his successor, longtime company salesman Chuck Robbins, and said that he’d step down as chief executive at the end of July. Cisco stock has lately gained strength, so it’s a good time for Chambers to relinquish control.

But it’s not clear that Robbins will be a significantly different leader. Bloomberg’s Peter Burrows writes: “he’ll follow the strategy set in place by Chambers, but will 'accelerate' it in places.”

Hmmm. Is the Chambers strategy the right one for Cisco right now? Can it set the stage for growth?

** Related: a look at Chambers’s tenure by the numbers.

Jesse Jackson Eyes Broadcom

Jackson has been pushing tech companies to increase diversity and find ways to shrink the wage gap between technical employees and service employees, like drivers and security guards, who often work for the companies on contract. After Jackson led a protest at Apple, the company hired some of its contract security guards so they could receive Apple’s superior benefits.

Now USA Today says Jackson will hold a protest near Broadcom’s headquarters. He will also chair a tech diversity conference in San Francisco.

Carly Fiorina for President

The former Hewlett-Packard chief executive announced her bid for the GOP presidential nomination. I have some thoughts on the topic that I will post later today, but her chances of winning are pretty low. Think of this as her audition for the vice presidential slot. While it all plays out, you should read my colleague Peter Burrows’s book "Backfire," which chronicles Fiorina’s rocky tenure at the helm of HP.

Twitter Actually Hates Copyright Infringement

There was much talk about how Periscope was the real winner of the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight because the live-streaming video app helped people circumvent Showtime’s $100 paywall.

Even Twitter CEO Dick Costolo seemed excited, though it was later said that his tweet -- “And the winner is...  @periscopeco” -- referred to other, totally sanctioned fight-related uses of Periscope. Perhaps to make sure that no one thinks Twitter condones intellectual property theft, the company told Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw: “Members of the Periscope team were on staff Saturday night working to disable streams of the fight … We were able to respond to takedown requests within minutes.”

Earnings Roundup

Reporting today: Groupon, Electronic Arts, Skullcandy, Sprint and Zendesk.


AltSchool, a set of tech-centric, San Francisco private schoolsraised $100 million from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and from venture firms such as Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz. (Bloomberg)

Pinterest is rolling out a test version of a platform for developers who want to build apps for Pinterest. (TechCrunch)

SpaceX would like you to know five important things about an upcoming trial run for the spacecraft’s launch abort system. The test is scheduled for tomorrow.  

Twilio raised $100 million and is now valued at over $1 billion. (VentureBeat)

Uber is now considered a taxi service in Brussels and must be regulated as such. Drivers who don’t comply risk having their cars seized. (Bloomberg) In China, Uber drivers are hitting the road to meet new people and have interesting conversations. (NPR)

Rock stars want to become venture capitalists. (Smashd)

People and Personnel Moves

Dave Goldberg, the CEO of SurveyMonkey who recently passed away, received a lovely tribute from the White House. Goldberg died after he accidentally fell from a treadmill while on vacation. (New York Times)


Apple has been pressuring music labels to force rival streaming services to abandon their free tiers, a tactic that has drawn the attention of the Justice Department. (the Verge) In device news, the company’s remote control is expected to get a little more complex and add in a touch pad after years of touting an ultra-simple design. (New York Times) Manufacturers are already working on an Apple Watch strap that doubles as a charger. (9to5Mac)

Facebook is opening up its app to developers after weathering criticisms from net neutrality advocates. (

Google acquired an iPhone calendar app called Timeful. (Re/code)

Tesla has started selling used cars on its website. Sales will be carefully monitored because the used car business could help the company win new customers. (Wall Street Journal)

Media Files

Comcast has more Internet subscribers than cable subscribers. (Associated Press) The company also spent $336 million on its attempt to buy Time Warner Cable. (Ars Technica)

Vice Media says it “presold all of the ad spots to two of the biggest advertising agencies for the first three years” of its television network, which hasn’t launched yet in the U.S. (New York Times)

Why Vice Media, BuzzFeed and Tastemade are beating out cable to become the new face of entertainment. (Fortune)

Selling ads for online video the same way we sell them for TV is sort of stupid because there’s no real scarcity online. (the Information)

Security Watch

Researchers can figure out which Android apps secretly connect users to tracking sites. (MIT Technology Review)

News and Notes

MyFitnessPal is getting into the subscription game, too. The meal and activity tracking app acquired by Under Armour will offer power users an ad-free version for $9.99 a month or $49.99 a year. (the Verge)

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

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    Katie Benner at

    To contact the editor on this story:
    Maria Lamagna at

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