Mike Fratto is a principal analyst at Current Analysis, covering the Enterprise Networking and Data Center Technology markets. Prior to that, Mike was with UBM Tech for 15 years, and served as editor of Network Computing. He was also lead analyst for InformationWeek Analytics ... View Full Bio
I should have expected this. The buzz about what Avaya is going to do with Nortel's switching and routing business is fodder for discussion. Frankly, it's all wild speculation. Avaya winning the stalking horse bid is very, very far from a done deal. Many people thought Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) would win the auction for Nortel's CDMA and LTE business, but private equity firm MatlinPatterson came in with a $725 million dollar bid. Nobody knows what is going to happen with the auction, not even Avaya.
Voice (VoIP, collaboration, Unified Communications) and carrier wireless were Nortel's strengths. Not networking. Not security. Nortel hasn't been a credible networking player in years. I am not opining about their products, just that they are pretty far down the market share ladder below Cisco, natch, HP Procurve, and 3Com(!). Considering upstart Juniper has been making lots of press announcements and getting ink but are still well below 10% market share while Nortel hasn't generated any enterprise buzz since the acquisition of Bay Networks in 1998. Nortel's switching and routing portfolio isn't exactly shaking up the infrastructure world.
Nortel's switch and routing business needs to be put to bed. It's done. Whoever wins the bid for the enterprise space can really shake up a the product development team to bring something unique to the market and kick the marketing team into high gear to start collecting mind share and ink.
When Juniper launched thier EX swtich product line, all they had were edge swtiches, it took over a year before thier core 8200 started shipping. The EX series are just basic swtiches—nothing special to see—24-48 port GB swtiches. Juniper can't even claim the highest port density or fastest products. Then they starting making noise about a single OS across their product lines—something Extreme could lay claim too much earlier. But what Juniper did was get people talking. They got the buzz happening. They are growing mind share.
Anyone who wants to make a go of Nortel's enterprise business needs to generate that buzz. The groundwork is already laid. How many columns and blogs is Nortel refferred to the "once great Nortel" or "one-time power house"? Just build off of that.