Cisco's quarterly earnings reports have been less and less encouraging, and after its November report raised eyebrows with talk of "air pockets" and "surprise," Cisco's most recent report -- for Cisco's fiscal Q2, delivered in early February -- brought red flags, even among Cisco's most bullish champions. The numbers in question? Cisco's quarterly profits were down 18 percent ($1.5 billion as opposed to $1.9 billion a year ago); switching, which accounts for nearly a third of its revenue, fell 7 percent in the quarter; and Cisco's guidance ranges for Q3 and Q4 are between 4 and 6 percent and 8 and 11 percent, respectively, both well below Cisco's oft described growth target of 12 to 17 percent.
Cisco's revenues were up 6 percent year-over-year, and growth across its newer categories, like data center and collaboration, has been superb. And in fairness, Cisco isn't exactly a financial Titanic posting numbers like these. But with ongoing softness in its core businesses, consumer and government sales, it's hard to paint a completely pretty picture of the oft-analyzed networking titan.