Cisco in Deep Crisco: “Could Be Another Enron!”

“Without it, life would be hell on earth.” Microtec advertisement, Veja magazine, issue 87. File under “the rhetoric of the technological sublime (RTS) in postmodern technology PR, Velvet Elvis tendency.”

Cisco pode repetir escândalo da Enron: Computerworld Brasil says “Cisco case could be another Enron!”

If I had a nickel for everytime I heard someone saying that the latest political scandal down here — which almomst inevitably turns out to have been a tempest in a teapot — is “another Watergate,” I would be sucking on a lifetime supply of chouchou-flavored popsicles right now.

Here’s what I think: I think the entire tech import sector here has a major chill running down its spine at this moment. I think you will probably see other multinationals get called to account for similar transgressions by their local Nostromos, and that this is a mainly a shot across the bow before lowering the boom.

Because one thing you tend to notice here is that schemes like this tend to get set in motion precisely because “my competition is doing it, so I cannot afford not to.” Pure punditry and guesswork, on my part, mind you. This is a blog. You get what you pay for. I am simply too lazy or busy to substantiate much with actual legwork.

But then again, so is this article from COMPUTERWORLD.

Caso as investigações da Polícia Federal comprovem o envolvimento intencional de executivos da Cisco em procedimentos de sonegação fiscal e descaminho, a companhia poderá se envolver em um escândalo com proporções desastrosas semelhantes ao da Enron, em 2001. Especialmente se as autoridades norte-americanas apoiarem as denúncias feitas pela polícia brasileira após as investigações no País.

If federal police investigtions can prove the willing participation of Cisco execs in tax evasion and misappropriation of funds, the company could find itself in a scandal of disastrous proportions similar to the Enron affair of 2001. Especially if U.S. officials support the charges made by Brazilian police.

Essa é a avaliação de Robert Enderle, presidente e analista sênior do Robert Enderle Group, consultoria norte-americana que conversou com o COMPUTERWORLD após os procedimentos desencadeados pela “Operação Persona”, conduzida pela PF na terça-feira (16/10).

That is the evaluation of Robert Enderle, president and senior analyst of the Enderle Group, a U.S. consultancy, who spoke with COMPUTERWORLD after news broke of Operation Persona.

Ifs, ands, and monkeys flying out of my buts.

This is a pretty typical one-source “he says, he says” pundit story from COMPUTERWORLD.

Enderle googles up as having last been seen giving quote to an ABC News report on Why You Should Not Buy a iPhone.

For over 20 years Rob has worked for and with companies like Microsoft, HP, IBM, Dell, Toshiba, Gateway, Sony, USAA, Texas Instruments, AMD, Intel, Credit Suisse First Boston, GM, Ford, ROLM, and Siemens.

Which makes me think this “bigger than Enron” hype is nothing more than a FUD-driven stealth-marketing salvo in the armed tech monopoly wars. Boil before consuming.

The guy seems to have a dog in the hunt that he is keeping tied up out behind the shed, and muzzled so it does not bark. And so does Mrs. Enderle:

Mary was the Worldwide Corporate Brand Identity Manager at Intel (r) Corporation and helped establish it as one of the top ten most valuable brands worldwide.

When you solicit comment from consultants, you should say who those consultants work for, and where they come from. Big corporations tend to extrude these sorts of arms-length “consulting firms” these days as plausibly deniable undercover marketing and “gabbling ratfink” agents.

“Acredito que se ficar comprovado que houve a sonegação fiscal de forma intencional e o governo norte-americano apoiar essas denúncias, de fato existirá um escândalo semelhante ao que vimos com a Enron, o que deverá causar grandes problemas para a imagem da empresa”, informou em entrevista por telefone. A Enron, gigante americana do setor de energia, foi à falência em 2001 depois de se envolver em fraudes contábeis.

“I believe that if it is proved that intentional tax evasion took place and the U.S. government supports those charges, there will in fact be a scandal like the one we saw with Enron, which could do great harm to Cisco’s image,” he said in a phone interview.

And then they remind you what Enron was.

As if we had forgotten.

Entretanto, investigações profundas ainda precisam ser feitas para se tirar qualquer conclusão sobre as supostas irregularidades, especialmente diante do histórico de boas práticas da companhia, segundo Enderle.

However, deep investigations still need to be done before drawing any conclusions about alleged irregularities, especially given the company’s history of good business practices, according to Enderle.

“A Cisco tem uma reputação bem transparente, o que poderá ser levado em conta pelo governo norte-americano. Mas caso as denúncias se confirmem e nem esse passado seja suficiente, os investidores poderão ficar bastante nervosos”, assinala.

“Cisco has quite a reputation for transparency, which might be taken into account by the USG. But if the charges are substantiated and not even this past history is sufficient, investors could get plenty nervous,” he says.

Could have, would have, should have. The contrary-to-fact conditional is often a prima facie indicator that someone is trying to yank your chain.

The federal police were actually quite clear, I thought, in saying that the criminal responsibility here is individual, not corporate, for example.

Maybe a few corporate HR heads will have to roll. In far-flung colonial subsdiaries, you need to vet your people thoroughly. That is what they say often plagues those miraculous outsourcing contracts, as I recall reading on many occasions: You have some guy on the other side of the planet waving your brand name around and getting up to God knows what.

You, meanwhile, are back there in Cleveland, thinking how marvelous it is that you can run your business effectively by e-mail. Ain’t the Internet grand? Until you discover, the hard way, that there really is no substitute for having beancounting boots on the ground.

I would tend to doubt very much — pure guesswork, mind you, so no wagering — that Cisco stands a chance of losing its market here over some kind of RCTV-style borking. And how heavily does Cisco Brasil weigh in the overall CSCO balance sheet anyway?

Mind you, I have no bone to pick with CISCO, or reason to defend it tooth and nail, or any stake in any tech firms (except, I think, 100 shares in CME, which may or not be an MSFT shop, or a Red Hat shop, I have lost track.)

Further disclosure: I am, it is true, running a Linksys wireless router here at the moment.

A bit tricky to configure on a Linux box, but doable. NMM(-TV)SNB(B)CNN(P)BS Wireless Broadband is on the air in the terra da garoa— “by pirate satellite,” as Joe Strummer said. It is a good enough little gizmo, but I have never systematically compared it to other gizmos, so I cannot say where it actually ranks in the ranks of serviceable gizmos.

COMPUTERWORLD is giving voice to glittering generalities about future events, about the probability or improbability of which no solid information is offered. Pretty much of a garden variety, single pundit-driven wankfest.

I mean, sure, I have run some of those in my time myself, when deadline loomed and I was staring at a blank page. But I never felt all that good about it.

No pregão after market da Nasdaq, as ações da Cisco registravam queda na noite de terça-feira, embora ainda seja cedo para afirmar reflexos do episódio ocorrido no Brasil. Segundo Enderele, essa conclusão é precipitada especialmente pelo fato de que a notícia ainda não correu a todo o vapor na imprensa norte-americana. Às 23h, horário do Brasil, os papéis recuavam 1,52%, a 32,29 dólares.

In aftermarket trading on Nasdaq, CSCO shares fell overnight, though it may be too early to attribute this to repercussions of the Brazil affair. Accoring to Enderle, this conclusion would be hasty given that the news has not gotten up a head of steam in the American press yet. As of 11:00 pm Brazil time, the shares had fallen 1.52%, to $32.29.

From what? The opening price the previous day? Or the closing price that day?

CSCO opened at $32.74 on October 16 and closed at $32.29.

The decline tracked the tech sector generally.

It actually traded up to $32.42 (+0.13) in overnight trading, measured from market close to the present moment, as I check the price on Google and Yahoo Finance (always get a second source).

These people seem to be leaving open the (baseless, at this point) inference that an after-hours debacle is taking shape. Post hoc ergo propter hoc? Who knows? David Sasaki-style fear and misinformation abound! [Cue spooky theremin music.]

The “CSCO execs arrested in Brazil” story is just hitting the newswires.

Let the buzzfest begin!


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