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The Battle for Bentonville

Two vendors are slugging it out big time over a power user's storage business. (See Cisco, McData Spar at Wal-Mart.)

This bout has already gone two rounds, and there's a third round in the offing that may decide the Battle for Bentonville, as Byte and Switch's Dave Raffo so aptly puts it.

What may be less evident after reading his story is how very carefully everyone involved is picking their words. McData denied any equipment of theirs had been replaced at Wal-Mart. Cisco wouldn't confirm its recent win, but they didn't deny it either sort of a non-confirming confirmation, to butcher a Watergate-era phrase. Wal-Mart didn't return calls.

Cue speculation in the marketplace.

Is McData faltering as it tries to regain momentum? That's possible, I guess, but doesn't tell the whole story. Maybe Wal-Mart wanted competitive suppliers (wouldn't be the first time). Or perhaps Cisco's John Chambers really turned on the West Virginia charm.

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