Cisco continued on the acquisition trail last week when it shelled out almost $200 million (#121 million) for two small network companies.
The bulk of the cash, $156 million, went on the purchase of Ardent Communications, in which Cisco already held a minority stake. Just over $40 million was paid for the Global Internet Software group.
Both acquisitions seem to be focused on helping Cisco in the low end of the networking market. Ardent makes integrated access equipment combining voice, video and data on Frame Relay and ATM networks, based on Cisco's IOS (Internetworking Operating System) software. The firm's products will be added to Cisco's recently announced high-end 3800 series of multiservice access concentrators, providing a low-end offering for departmental offices.
Global Internet Software, a subsidiary of Global Internet.Com, manufactures a firewall called Centri. This is expected to form part of Cisco's Pix Firewall range. Pix is an enterprise series for large corporates, while the Centri product will plug the gap in the small-to-medium business market.
A Windows NT security management software tool which is part of the Global package will also form the management platform for Cisco's entire firewall strategy.
Global's 20 employees will be taken on by Cisco's Internet appliances and applications business unit. The 40 employees of privately held Ardent will continue to work from their base in San Jose, California, and become part of Cisco's multiservice access business division. Both purchases should be complete by late July.
Separately, Cisco has announced an agreement with Alcatel, the French telecoms supplier. Alcatel is already a major reseller of Cisco kit. Under the terms of the two-year agreement, the companies will tighten their relationship by jointly developing and selling network solutions to telecommunications carriers and ISPs, incorporating Alcatel's public network switches and Cisco's IOS software and Tag Switching technology. The move is also part of Cisco's strategy to make IOS a pervasive standard in networking.
"Service providers worldwide recognise the market opportunities for voice-data and multimedia services," said Cisco CEO, John Chambers, announcing the deal. "Our partnership with Alcatel will allow service providers to deploy advanced services more quickly and efficiently."
June 1997 Skystone Systems $90 million
October 1996 Netsys Technologies $79 million
September 1996 Granite Systems $220 million
August 1996 Nashoba Networks $100 million
July 1996 Telebit MICA Technologies $200 million
April 1996 Stratacom $4 billion.
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