Queue up F5’s CEO of John McAdam as he prepares to address Wall Street for the company’s quarterly call to discuss the state of the business. Out he comes and is asked to walk everyone through the past quarter. He goes off on a rant and shouts, “We’re the best ADC in the game! When you try us with a sorry ADC like Netscaler, that’s the result you’re going to get. Don’t you ever talk about F5 or I’ll shut you up!”
That, of course, didn’t happen, but the tech industry would be a whole lot more interesting if tech CEOs acted more like the Seahawks’ Richard Sherman and beat their chests a little more. This was a quarter where F5 could have gotten away with it.
Over the past year, the former darling of the tech industry had fallen on hard times. The business had slowed down and the stock had dipped below $70/share, a number it hadn’t been at since 2010. This prompted many to wonder if F5’s best days were behind them, partially due to the fact that Citrix had stepped up the competitive pressure through its Cisco partnership.