Ex-Cisco Exec Facing Lawsuit Has Some Choice Things To Say About Cisco

Arista CEO Jayshree UllalAristaArista CEO Jayshree Ullal

After being slapped with a lawsuit by rival Cisco on Friday, newly public company Arista Networks has come out swinging.

Its CEO, former Cisco star engineer Jayshree Ullal, just published a blog post that implies she thinks Cisco is a has-been.

She has labelled Cisco as part of the “second-wave” of network vendors being overrun by a host of “third-wave” companies that includes Arista.

She says that ageing companies “often fall by the wayside” and “resort to tactics that do not benefit customers or expand markets as a means of defending their market position.”

By tactics, she means lawsuits. When hearing of the lawsuit on Friday, Ullal said, “I am disappointed at Cisco’s tactics. It’s not the Cisco I knew.”

But wait, there’s more. The post describes “protectors” versus “pioneers.” She writes:

Protectors defend old habits and remain strongly entrenched in following legacy technology trends. They try to enforce new buzzwords and dictate markets in ways that maintain their dominant position with customers. They are often in denial of new technologies and market disruptions until it’s too late. They deploy inappropriate tactics that serve to distract customers and partners from making the investments that will lead to competitive advantage.

To recap the drama: Arista is an upstart networking equipment company formed by two famous Valley billionaires, Andy Bechtolsheim and David Cheriton, and run by a whole bunch of ex-Cisco employees. (Bechtolsheim, Arista’s Chief Development Officer and chairman is also a former Cisco employee after Cisco bought one of his previous startups.)

Cisco has accused Arista of stealing and copying its tech as these employees left the company. It’s an old fashioned patent-infringement/copyright infringement suit.

Arista has become a growing threat to Cisco (though Cisco refutes this). Arista had a hugely successful IPO in the summer and has been blowing out its quarterly results with growth and profits. It also just started publicly talking about a huge customer: Microsoft.

Cisco sent us this comment in response to Ullal’s blog post.

“Our General Counsel’s blog [post] and the suits speak for themselves. Cisco believes to compete in technology, you need to innovate, not copy. We take our innovation very seriously and will protect it.”

Arista refutes Cisco’s allegations.

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