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Cisco searching for small business

Cisco Systems has hooked up with Yahoo to target small and midsized businesses in specific industries, a Cisco executive says.

Cisco Systems has hooked up with Yahoo to sell the networking giant's equipment to small and midsized businesses, a Cisco executive said Monday.

The new Web site caters to companies in 10 big ticket industries such as manufacturing, retail, wholesale, financial service providers and government, said Bridget Bisnette, Cisco's senior manager of commercial alliance development.

Cisco salespeople usually don't target a specific type of company, a practice known as "vertical" marketing. Instead the company "speaks to the network, selling whatever changes you need to make your infrastructure do things like voice over IP (Internet Protocol), video streaming, etc.," Bisnette said.

Cisco sells more routers and switches--used to direct Internet traffic--than any other company. But new manufacturers selling cheaper equipment have recently come on the scene, and analysts have said they believe Cisco will eventually have to take steps to deal with the lower-priced competition.

The new marketing effort is one of several strategies Cisco has taken to fend off competition. Cisco is starting a $150 million marketing campaign next month to trumpet its brand. The Yahoo deal is "in support of that," Bisnette said.

Cisco has also turned to the courts for the first time to protect its intellectual property. The company sued competitor Huawei earlier this year, alleging it violated Cisco patents and copyrights.