The Network Effect

Cisco, only 10 years old, is emerging as the world's most valuable firm. Welcome to the post-PC market

For most of us, the stock market is usually a blur, a swirl of statistics, charts and CNBCNNfn commentators telling us somestockweown or somestockwedon't is up or down. For a few hours last week, however, everything came into focus, and it seemed our (new) economy was clearly moving in the direction indicated by one company: Cisco.

At NASDAQ's close last Monday, the San Jose, Calif., Internet router maker emerged as the most valuable company in the world, with a market capitalization of $555 billion, more than $13 billion ahead of the reigning cap king, Microsoft. This shifting of the tech-tonic plates...

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