In Pictures: Cisco's 10 most opportunistic acquisitions

These acquisitions helped Cisco jump on market trends early on, and take hold of them as they grow into money-makers.

Altiga Networks, January 2000 On January 19, 2000, Cisco made two acquisitions in the VPN space, for a combined $567 million. The first was Compatible Systems Corp, giving Cisco a strong service provider VPN solution. The one I really liked was the purchase of Massachusetts-based Altiga.

At the time, the concept of building VPN-based networks and granting remote workers VPN access was becoming more common. Prior to VPN access, remote work involved dialing into PCs and using software to control the desktop remotely. Altiga gave Cisco one of the leading VPN providers on the market (although I still contend Nortel's Contivity was better) and caught the VPN wave early.

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