Cisco To Join The Dow -- And Will Take Linux With It

Anyone who doesn't know the economy is unwell has obviously been off the planet or in a cave for the last nine months. Despite the government's attempt to stop the bleeding, one company after another has collapsed — the latest to join the list is General Motors, a fixture in American automotive culture. GM's situation, which included filing for bankruptcy this week, comes with an additional blow to the company, if not fiscally then to its corporate pride: the company's bankruptcy filing has disqualified it from inclusion in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, an honor it has held for eighty-three years, a record second only to General Electric's 102 years.

GM's loss, however, is technology's gain, as one more staple in the tech lineup will take the automotive giant's place. Cisco Systems, the networking powerhouse that claims as much as a 68% share in certain areas of the networking market, will be added to the venerable index on June 8 — it will become the fifth technology firm in the current lineup, along with Hewlett-Packard, Intel, IBM, and Microsoft. Other members of the index, which includes thirty stocks considered to be a representative sample of the overall market, include such American corporate icons as AT&T, Coca-Cola, the aforementioned General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, McDonalds, Wal-Mart, and Walt Disney.

CEO John Chambers, speaking to reporters at the Cisco Partner Summit, called the inclusion a "tremendous honor" while acknowledging that it comes with "mixed emotions" stemming from the displacement of General Motors — Chambers described GM as a great company, customer, and partner as well as "an icon." Dow chief Robert Thompson proclaimed Cisco a "fitting addition," saying the company's offerings "are vital to an economy and culture still adapting to the Information Age - just as automobiles were essential to America in the 20th Century."

Cisco is one of the largest contributors to the Linux kernel, and just over a year ago announced the opening of the company's Integrated Services Routers to third-party development via Linux-based modules. The company also sponsored a $100,000 competition for ISR developers, which just completed its first phase with the announcement of ten finalists who will now move on to application development, submitting their final products before August 15.

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