At Cisco Partner Summit 2011, Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers held a fireside chat with several thousand channel partners this morning. His key message: Cisco won't compete with channel partners in the cloud and other areas as market shifts accelerate.  Also, Chambers said Hewlett-Packard is not taking share from Cisco in the switching market. "We will go [forward] together" with channel partners as the world shifts from "an information economy to a networked economy," Chambers said. Here are the top highlights from the Cisco Partner Summit 2011 keynotes this morning.

1. Four Priorities: The strategy within Cisco's worldwide partner organization is fourfold, according to Senior VP Keith Goodwin:
  • Build transformational partnerships -- including technology partnerships
  • Accelerate SMB with partner-led opportunities
  • Simplify how we work with partners
  • Invest and innovate in the channel and reseller program
2. Top Initiatives: Cisco is participating in eight of the top 10 business and technology priorities for CIOs, according to Goodwin. Also, Cisco participates in the top four, including cloud, virtualtion, mibile and IT management.

3. From VoIP to Cloud: "Together we changed the voice industry, together we are changing the IT industry as we virtualize the data center and focus on cloud going forward," said Goodwin.

4. Move Fast: "Market transitions wait for no one," said Chambers.

5. Feeling Good: "Barring a surprise or disruption, the global economy will be stronger than most economists anticipate," predicted Chambers.

6. Cisco's Track Record on Transitions: Chambers recapped Cisco's efforts to bet on market shifts even as critics have questioned the moves. Chambers noted the following moves:
  • 1990: Cisco was dominant in routing
  • 1993: Cisco moved into switching
  • 1997: Cisco bets on service providers
  • 1998: Cisco survives Asian Financial Crisis and pushes deeper into Asia
  • 2001: Cisco describes IT's Hundred Year Flood during the dot-com implosion
  • 2001: Cisco doubled down on service providers during dot-com challenges
  • 2003: Cisco broke away from rivals
  • 2007: Cisco discussed financial industry problems before most companies
  • 2008: Cisco maintained commitment to Automotive Industry even during the automotive implosion.
  • 2009: Cisco focuses on the economic recovery rather than continued economic challenges
  • 2010: Cisco concedes that the public sector IT spending slowdown is challenging.
"Our transparency allows us to adjust," said Chambers, while referring to the current public sector IT spending slowdown.

6. Focus: Chambers says channel partners need to focus on five key priorities before embracing additional options. Those top five are:
  • Leadership in core like routing and switching
  • Collaboration
  • Data center, virtualization, cloud
  • Business/technology architectures
  • Video
7. Research and Development: Chambers said Cisco is plowing 13 percent of revenues into R&D. Without mentioning Hewlett-Packard by name, he indirectly jabbed HP for low R&D efforts. Chambers also said Cisco has the largest patent portfolio in the telecom industry.

8. Any to Any: Cisco will continue to promote video connectivity and collaboration across any device, said Chambers.

9. Playing Favorites: Chambers says the CIUS tablet is now his favorite Cisco product; his previous favorite was TelePresence.

10. Partnering, Not Competing: On the cloud front, Chambers promised attendees that the company will not compete with solutions providers. Next up, Cisco Channel Chief Edison Peres officially unveiled the Cisco Cloud Partner Program.

11. The HP Factor: Chambers showed several charts that suggest HP is not taking market share from Cisco in the switching market. He conceded that Cisco has had to work hard to develop new products in the lower end to compete with HP, but he expressed no concerns about a market share war with HP.

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