Pundits seized on third quarter figures from networking equipment giant Cisco as the first tentative signs of a rebound in tech spending. Yet Cisco's results for the three months to April were little more than lacklustre, with sales flat at $4.8 billion. However, the company eked out $729.0 million in net profits thanks to cheaper parts and tight spending controls. In the same period in 2001, Cisco recorded a loss of $2.7 billion, due to its infamous $2.3 billion write-off for excess inventory, and a $1.2 billion charge for restructuring and lay-offs.
Analysts are increasingly sceptical that Cisco will ever see a return to the growth rates it enjoyed in the 1990s unless it puts its $21 billion cash pile to very good use.