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Posted by Chris Silva on August 12, 2008
Here we go again, the most recent in a rash of acquisitions, but only the second of an infrastructure vendor this year as HP today announced its intent to acquire the Colubris Networks.
Why this is good for both sides:
What's missing? A couple elements:
As IT departments seek to build or winnow vendor shortlists of WLAN providers, the list gets shorter and shorter. Among the WLAN pure-play, or overlay vendors, 3Com, Bluesocket, Extricom and Meru remain. Based on Aruba's shares outstanding value on paper - making it multiples above the price paid for Trapeze - the field of "independents" (and, for that matter, acquisition targets) shrinks to three. Nortel, given it's lack of a clear strategy on 802.11n (very reminiscent on ProCurve, pre-announcement) could benefit from the infusion of WLAN IP. I've speculated in the past that a Meru/Nortel combination would be a winning one given a shared affinity for voice. After all, what ever happened to the Unwired Enterprise vision at Nortel, anyway?
Should IT buyers expect more of this same type of activity? Aside from Nortel, it's hard to see any major vendors hurting for a WLAN product line, but it is likely to remain a buyer's market across the remaining independents. Established players, such as Siemens, Aruba Networks and 3Com are likely to remain intact given their valuation, parent company structure and SMB niche, respectively. As for Bluesocket, Extricom and Meru, I hear Toronto is lovely in the summer...
By Chris Silva
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