"Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action."

For the third quarter in a row, management of C-COR (NASDAQ:CCBL) has announced that actual results won't live up to initial projections. In this case, revenue looks to be coming in between $47 and $48 million, far lower than the $70-$75 million forecast earlier.

Ouch, babe.

Management chalked up about half of the miss to a change in accounting treatment for its acquisition of nCUBE, which closed earlier in the year. Put simply, management expected to transfer a large amount of nCUBE's deferred revenue intact, but it seems that a significant portion of that won't be deemed recognizable.

Noted secondarily, the company reported that new customer orders were being received too late to be recognized for the March quarter.

Although that's all understandable, I don't feel that it's the complete story. The company's new revenue target of approximately $48 million is well below the $58.5 million seen in December and the $58.4 million seen in March of last year. Both of those results have nothing to do with nCUBE, so I'm frankly a bit flummoxed as to why troubles with customer order timing would have such a major impact.

Plus, when you factor in the two prior quarters where the company missed initial targets, I believe it's entirely fair to question whether management really has a good handle on its company and the state of business. And as we at The Motley Fool have repeated on numerous occasions, management matters!

When I wrote about C-COR in January, I indicated that there was cause for optimism with respect to the company's long-term outlook. To some extent, I still believe that.

The company's footholds in digital video, VoIP, video-on-demand, and HDTV are still valuable, and I still believe that cable companies must (and will) spend money on new equipment and software to drive higher revenue and margins from cutting-edge services.

That said, I just don't know how to interpret management guidance any more. While it pointed to $80 million in new orders and a backlog of around $73 million (much higher than the $31 million reported in January), I have a hard time moving past three straight bad quarters.

While these consecutive disappointments have pushed the valuation to a fairly low level, these shares seem appropriate only for highly risk-tolerant investors who can stay focused on the long-term horizon and ignore these short-term speed bumps and stumbles. In the meantime, I'll be spending more due diligence time on Scientific-Atlanta (NYSE:SFA) and Motorola (NYSE:MOT) while I wait for C-COR's business to stabilize.

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long, nor short the shares).