Cisco Systems has drawn blood in the second round of a vicious battle with Cabletron, with a decision to end a licensing agreement that lets Cabletron?s enterprise hubs talk directly to Cisco routers.
The move could mean that managers of some large mixed networks will be forced to add another router and more cable to already complicated network environments. But Cisco claims it was responding to actions by Cabletron, which had "gone beyond the spirit of healthy competition".
For several years, Cisco has licensed its Internetwork Operating System (IOS) software to Cabletro. This delivers routing functionality for Cabletron's MMAC and MMAC Plus all-in-one hubs. But last month Cabletron waged an aggressive anti-Cisco presentation at the NetWorld+Interop conference in Atlanta, which led the router giant to stop licensing IOS for sale by Cabletron. ?Over the last few months Cabletron has misrepresented our products and features and has not portrayed Cisco in a professional way as would be expected by a partner,? said Adam Stein, a spokesperson at Cisco. ?People need to realise that IOS is a standards-based functionality for ATM routing and switching and Cabletron was not promoting it like that.? Michael Howard, president of analysts Infonetics Research in California, believes that the conflict could hurt Cisco?s image as well as Cabletron?s. ?It?s counter to its strategy of putting IOS everywhere,?he said. ?This might make people wonder about the openness of IOS.? Frank Hayes, programme director of Lan switching at Cabletron, said: ?We are very disappointed that Cisco has dissolved this arrangement which was set up strictly for the benefits of our customers. Cisco seems to want to combat our aggressive campaign in the switching market by unlicensing IOS, which questions how open IOS is.?.
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