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Cisco's tepid profit forecast overshadows third-quarter beat, shares fall

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May 16 (Reuters) - Network gear maker Cisco Systems Inc beat analysts' estimates for third-quarter revenue and profit on Wednesday, but a tepid profit forecast for the current quarter pushed shares down 3.4 percent in extended trading.

The shares have risen about 18 percent this year as investors bet on Cisco's transition to a software-focused company.

Cisco forecast fourth-quarter profit of 68 cents to 70 cents per share, while analysts were expecting 69 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net income rose to $2.69 billion, or 56 cents per share, in the third quarter ended April 28, from $2.52 billion, or 50 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned 66 cents per share.

Total revenue rose 4.4 percent to $12.46 billion.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 65 cents per share and revenue of $12.43 billion.

Cisco, like other legacy technology companies, has been shifting to high-growth areas such as cyber security and Internet of Things to cushion the declines in its traditional hardware businesses. (Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)