Avaya's Nortel buy might not power it over Cisco

New study claims combined Nortel and Avaya might won't overthrow Cisco's networking market dominance

A long-term communications vendor such as Avaya might encourage its customers to upgrade to a hybrid of traditional TDM gear with VoIP products whereas Cisco, which never sold TDM gear, would encourage its customers to rip and replace, he says. That can also skew numbers, he says.

"It's not apples to apples," Stinson says. "I think what the numbers show is it gives Avaya a good shot at giving Cisco a run for its money."

As for IntelliCom's new study, it doesn't mark the first time that Cisco's No.1 ranked revenues outstripped the combined total for Avaya and Nortel. It achieved that mark in the third and fourth quarters of last year as well, Stinson says. Regardless, Cisco has held the No.1 spot consistently since the second quarter of 2007, he says.

Regardless of the horse race for the first-place ranking, there is a battle going on for Nortel customers, he says. Avaya clearly wants to capture as many as it can through the purchase of Nortel. Its competitors, including Cisco, want to use the uncertainty caused by Nortel's bankruptcy as leverage to grab away as many of those customers as they can.

Stinson says that Nortel customers ought to write down their immediate communications needs and their likely communications needs in the future. It should compare those needs with the road map that Avaya says it will issue within 30 days after its purchase of Nortel is complete. At that time, they should see how well needs match up with Avaya plans and decide whether to stick with Nortel or to look elsewhere, he says.

They should look at specifics of the road map such as what Nortel devices Avaya will continue to support, which ones it won't and what its migration path is for replacing the products it cancels, he says.

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Tim Greene

Network World
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