Cisco Smartnet – New download policy

For the past seven years, Multiven has been an adamant advocate of consumer’s rights to free software bug fixes for all their purchased Cisco software. Despite, the obvious product liability associated with selling buggy software to customers and then asking them to pay for expensive service contracts in order to access bug fixes, and despite Multiven’s numerous advocacy efforts to hold Cisco accountable, Cisco persists in perpetrating this unethical practice.

Fortunately, buyers of Cisco equipment and software around the world are gaining greater consciousness of the problem and standing for their right. They are demanding that Cisco fixes its bugs at no extra cost like all other software manufacturers (Apple, Microsoft, HP, etc.).

We will be reporting on their thoughts, comments and actions to stop Cisco’s illegal and unethical practice.


Here are comments posted by customers on Cisco’s Support Community no-less:

“Goodbye Cisco,

You have now lost me as a customer as I will start looking to other vendors for my networking needs. Your (…) policy of requiring your customers to have an overpriced active contract (…) to download software updates is absolute bullsh!t.

Trying to get more money out of your existing customers is not going to help your poor performing stock prices and will in fact be detrimental to your bottom line as I along with others will now jump off the Cisco bandwagon.

I’ve already lined up meetings with Enterasys and HP to look over their products and discuss their warranties.”


“if you are a Cisco customer and you have a device with an IOS bug in it does this mean you are screwed if you did not get a smartnet contract or let it lapse? Cisco SmartNet is EXPENSIVE, there’s no denying that. Management of Cisco smartNet contracts is a BURDEN, there’s no denying that either. (…)”


“Forcing people to purchase support contracts just to maintain access to software downloads (…) is pretty harsh. 

 A piece of networking equipment is no different than a computer.  A router or switch is just a specialized computer (…).  You pay for the license to windows 7 when you buy your computer and and you get software updates for the life of that machine.  Why not make any piece of networking equipment the same?  I don’t mean upgrades (ipbase to ipservices).  I mean if i buy a CISCO3925 router with the base level of software (IPbase) why should i not have access to updates to that feature set for the life of the router?  You pay for the license to that feature set when you buy the product.  That purchase doesn’t come with updates to that feature set?

Hopefully Cisco reevaluates this and makes some kind of program where people can get access to software “updates” without having to purchase a SmartNet contract.  Cisco already offers free updates for almost all small 1RU switches, why not include routers or higher level feature sets when a license is purchased?”


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Multiven Files Antitrust Complaint Against Cisco Systems with Swiss Competition Commission

Multiven GmbH (“Multiven”) filed on Monday, an antitrust complaint against Cisco Systems (“Cisco”) with the Swiss Competition Commission, in an effort to open up the network maintenance services marketplace for Cisco equipment, promote free and fair competition while enhancing consumer choice and value. Multiven’s complaint alleges that Cisco abuses its dominant position to harm consumers by bundling and tying software bug fixes, patches and updates (“software updates”) for its operating system and application software to its maintenance services (“SMARTnet”) and through a series of other illegal exclusionary and anti-competitive acts designed to maintain Cisco’s monopoly in the network maintenance services market for Cisco networking equipment, which represents 75% of the world’s Internet infrastructure.

The complaint recites that instead of making these necessary software updates available to all customers that have purchased its operating system and application software licenses, as does Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and many others, Cisco makes these software updates only available to those customers that have purchased its SMARTnet service.

The complaint further alleges that Cisco also engages in a series of illegal exclusionary and anti-competitive acts such as (but not limited to);

  • Cisco coercing its 52,000 reseller partners to refuse-to-deal with Multiven and not resell better quality and/or lower cost services from Multiven – an Independent Service Organization (“ISO”) – that competes with Cisco SMARTnet,
  • Cisco voiding the software licenses of customers that install their valid Cisco software on genuine Cisco equipment procured from Cisco-independent sources.

These acts aimed at preventing competitors like Multiven from servicing Cisco networking equipment have had the following anti-competitive and injurious effects in the Swiss marketplace for Internet network services:

  • Competition in the market for service and maintenance of Cisco networking equipment has been suppressed and virtually eliminated. Additionally, ISOs have been effectively precluded from competing for and earning profits on the servicing of Cisco networking equipment.
  • Customers have been deprived choice and forced to purchase Cisco SMARTnet maintenance services over that of substantially better quality and/or lower priced maintenance services from ISOs like Multiven; and
  • Consumers have been harmed because supracompetitive prices have been maintained and increased, and the quantity, quality and choice of service offerings in the marketplace has been reduced and constrained.

Multiven’s requested remedies are intended to give consumers greater freedom, choice and cost savings while ensuring that the network maintenance services marketplace develops into an open, fair and competitive industry where Cisco competes solely based on the quality and value of its services.

Multiven is represented by Schellenberg Wittmer – led by Dr. Jürg Borer and Dr. Juhani Kostka.

Multiven is a registered trademark of Multiven, Inc. and Multiven GmbH. All other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.

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