Alcatel resellers are enthusiastic about the prospect of the vendor acquiring Newbridge Networks. Alcatel has admitted it is talking to Newbridge but denied interest in buying it. Ericsson has also been linked to the struggling vendor, which has admitted it is up for sale. Alcatel took its newly-acquired data networking partners to Barcelona earlier this month to set out its strategy, but acquisition rumours were not formally addressed there. Richard Pitt, divisional director of Alcatel Internetworking, said the vendor is looking to make more acquisitions and ackowledged that Newbridge Networks' technology would complement Alcatel's existing portfolio. Pitt was previously managing director of Xylan, which was acquired by Alcatel in March. He said many of his resellers told him they had been looking for a new vendor because they did not expect Alcatel to commit to third-party channels, but they have now said they want to stay with Alcatel. Most observers thought Alcatel wanted to buy data networking companies to end its reliance on reselling Cisco, he added. Pitt said Alcatel is serious about a third-party channel in the UK and introducing integrated voice and data products to challenge US vendors such as Nortel and Lucent. Simon Crumplin, director of Xylan reseller Data Integration, said: "I was a sceptic, but now I'm a believer. They have a very competitive technology story and they mean business with the channel." The combination of Alcatel and Newbridge would be a "beautiful match", he added. Ian Sheperd, networks product manager at K-Net, said any fears he had about Alcatel's commitment to the channel have been allayed. "When the IP version of the 4400 PCX is released next year they'll have a very strong proposition," he said. Pitt said UK resellers will benefit from access to other product lines acquired by Alcatel in its bid to establish IP networking credentials.
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