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Cisco Systems (CSCO - Analyst Report) has reported its fiscal Q4 2014 earnings after the bell Wednesday, with typically positive results: the tech giant posted earnings per share (EPS) of 50 cents per share (actual, GAAP) on total sales in the quarter of $12.36 billion. This topped the Zacks consensus estimates of 48 cents per share on $12.12 billion in revenues, respectively.

It would seem at first blush that Cisco's foray a few years back diving into cloud-based solutions is showing signs of paying off, especially with beating expectations on the revenue side (an earnings beat for Cisco is a no-brainer by this point; the company hasn't posted a negative earnings surprise since 2008). Cisco's products (consisting of mostly routers and switchers, where they are still a first-tier producer) brought in $9.5 billion in the quarter, while services garnered $2.8 billion.

It will likely take the conference call coming a bit later to really dig into the substance of these numbers, especially regarding guidance for fiscal year 2015, but the year-over-year growth is likely a good sign that the move toward the "Intercloud" is now bearing some fruit. Gross margins seem to be a bit under pressure, which has been the case with Cisco -- as well as plenty other big names in tech trying to make the jump into the high-growth end, like IBM (IBM - Analyst Report) -- for awhile now.

Cisco also bought back 1.5 billion in CSCO shares for the quarter, another thing investors have come to expect. The company's 4% positive earnings surprise is about exactly the average for the past four quarters, as well. What's nice to see for Cisco that's not so typical is the back-to-back beats on the top line.

Analysts typically have made no adjustments to earnings expectations for Cisco Systems in the quarter; once guidance is established and certain aspects are discussed on the call -- among them enterprise IT spending trends, growth in China and Cisco's 9% revenue exposure in Russia -- investors will have a better idea how to play the Zacks Rank #3 stock going forward. Year to date, Cisco shares are up 12%, but year over year they're down about 4%.

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