Cisco is taking on Huawei globally and winning its share of deals, CEO Chuck Robbins says

Key Points
  • Cisco reported better-than-expected results on Wednesday, lifting the stock 3 percent.
  • The company's infrastructure business posted revenue that topped estimates.
  • CEO Chuck Robbins said Cisco is taking on China's Huawei and winning.
Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins addresses Morgan Stanley downgrade

If Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins is worried about China's Huawei, he's doing a good job hiding it.

Robbins told CNBC's Jim Cramer on Thursday, following his company's better-than-expected quarterly earnings report, that in markets where Cisco and Huawei go head-to-head selling networking equipment, his company is winning it share of deals.

"We haven't seen any material impact from all of the noise in the system around this topic," Robbins said. "If you look at the numbers and you look at our service provider business in both Europe and Asia, where we compete with them, they were both positive. So we were able to compete."

The noise Robbins is referencing pertains to the many controversies surrounding Huawei, particularly in the U.S., where the company faces a broader ban on its equipment because of security concerns. Huawei has been expanding outside of its home country as it gears up for the deployment of 5G networks across the globe, offering cheaper gear than its Western competitors can provide.

In December, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on fraud charges. Prosecutors in New York say Meng and Huawei sought to hide payments made for equipment sold to Iran, a violation of sanctions against that country, and Canada is weighing whether to extradite Meng to the U.S.

Source: CNBC

Robbins said on Wednesday's earnings call that, on the basis of its technology alone, customers are choosing Cisco.

"I would put our innovation up against theirs and anybody else's in the world," he said.

Cisco's fiscal second-quarter results topped estimates for both revenue and earnings, pushing the stock up 3 percent. Infrastructure platforms, Cisco's largest business, grew 6 percent, also exceeding estimates.

Simon Leopold, an analyst at Raymond James, estimates that Cisco's exposure to China represents less than 2 percent of sales, so the company doesn't have to be too concerned about Huawei's home-field advantage. Leopold maintained his "outperform" rating on the stock and highlighted the significance of Cisco's bullish comments regarding Huawei.

"Cisco asserted that it competes on a global basis ex-China on the merits of its products," Leopold wrote in a report Wednesday night. "The answer implied that Cisco believes it can gain share outside of China from Huawei with or without government influence.

CNBC's Kate Fazzini and Jordan Novet contributed to this report.

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