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As expected, Cisco Systems has digested the Linksys reseller partner
program, making it part of Cisco Systems’ existing reseller partner program
focused on small and midsize businesses.

The move creates a single point of contact for all of
Cisco’s second-tier partners, now numbering about 60,000.

"Partners who wanted to focus on the whole portfolio had to deal with two
separate programs," says Andrew Sage, Cisco vice president of worldwide
small business sales, a new position within the company. "We now have a
single partner program, so it’s simpler to work with us."

Sage says Linksys partners will continue to get the previous pricing promotions
and now will also get access to additional promotions that will give them an
advantage over non-Cisco registered partners.

"Linksys also had a great demo program, so we are going to continue to use
that in the way that Linksys had implemented it," he says.

The Linksys brand will also remain intact, according to Sage.

Cisco’s move is part of a greater focus by the company on small business. In
addition to creating Sage’s new position, Cisco has also created a segment
council headed by Sue Bostrom,
chief marketing officer; Keith
channel chief; and Ian Pennell,
senior vice president of the small business technology group.

"This is the first time we’ve had a global leader for sales in channels
focused exclusively on small business," Sage says of his new position. "We
think going to market in small business requires a new level of alignment
between fields and technology groups."

In early July Cisco also created a small-business-specific engineering group,
led by Pennell, who Sage calls "a rock star engineer. We’ve integrated
Linksys’ small business team into Ian’s team, so now we have one group of
engineers creating a portfolio for small business."

Cisco first announced plans to acquire Linksys in March 2003. Cisco has been
moving towards creating a tighter
integration of Cisco and Linksys channel programs.