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Partner Summit Awaits: 10 Big Questions For Cisco

Following a lengthy restructuring, the Cisco of 2012 is a little different. With the networking giant's Partner Summit kicking off next week in San Diego, here are 10 questions that should be top of mind for at least a few partners and Cisco observers.

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How Long Will Chambers Rule?

John Chambers has been CEO of Cisco since January 1995 -- a 17-year reign matched by very few of his Silicon Valley peers -- so the questions of succession at Cisco are a perennial head-scratcher. Industry speculation held that Cisco's challenging 2010 and 2011 would spell the end for Chambers, but Cisco's lengthy restructuring and consequent bounceback have a lot of those same pundits just about ready to call it a turnaround. Sources familiar with Cisco's palace intrigue tell CRN and industry watchers that Chambers has shown little interest in abdicating the throne, even though at the 2010 Cisco Partner Summit, he said five more years.

No one particular potential successor has emerged, although many solution providers are strong supporters of Rob Lloyd, Cisco's executive vice president, worldwide operations, who is a fierce channel advocate and is often short-listed as an internal candidate to follow Chambers.

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