Newbridge has expanded its product relationship with 3Com in a move that further sidelines its UB Networks Lan business. But the new partners claim they will not leave UB customers stranded.
According to Newbridge representative Gladys Elia, customers who want to stay with UB's local area network products will be supported. There have been doubts about the future of the unit - which Newbridge bought from Tandem a year ago - since the parent company axed 280 jobs within it in December.
At that time it decided to refocus on its core strength, wide area networking, but the 3Com deal brings Lan products back into the fold.
?The second stage for us is to extend our product base in the enterprise market place and provide an end-to-end solution, which we have done through our alliance with 3Com,? says Elia. ?But UB customers have a choice - they can stick with what they have or they can choose to buy enterprise products through 3Com.?
She added: "Integration is now so complete that speculation about selling UB is not even an option. There is no UB to sell.?
Elia defended the acquisition of UB as ?brilliant", claiming it had ?offered the customer a lot more real end-to-end network products, not just independent products.? UB technology will still be incorporated in some solutions.
Dataquest analyst Craig Johnson was less flattering. ?They won?t admit it?s an outright mistake. The UB path is still available - some of the Vivid products still exist, but you don?t have to read tea leaves to see customers will be redirected to the 3Com path instead. It will be done on a case by case basis, down to who has account control.?
Johnson says that Wall Street expects more job losses: ?If the customers want the 3Com deal there is no reason for the development team because there?s no revenue out of the acquisition, and Newbridge will need to keep the cost down. There will be redeployment, leverage - whatever the euphemism is for sacking.?
In the deal Newbridge will be able to resell 3Com?s Lan applications - Corebuilder campus backbone switches, Access Builder remote access equipment and Superstack Lan switches. In turn, 3Com will resell Newbridge?s MainStreet Xpress 36170 ATM Wan switches. The two companies have also agreed to integrate their network management software, developing policy based networks for both enterprise and carrier environments.
Analyst with the Aberdeen Group, Traver Kennedy, says the alliance with 3Com will "complete the picture" for Newbridge, bringing it closer to the desktop - while its other key partnership, with Siemens, has enabled it to "upscale".
The 3Com deal allows it to resell products to fill out its portfolio in the the enterprise Lan market, rather than developing the technology internally.
He feels that this spectrum of products will enable Newbridge to compete with Lucent Technology and Nortel. ?Enterprise networks are increasingly converging as ATM service increases and there is faster IP amd frame relay. Different applications are now available. A year ago you could not get voice over frame relay, but now applications are moving over to other parts of the network.?
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