3Com: Profiting From Big Blue?
3Com reported a narrow quarterly loss on March 22, but the bigger story is the company’s blossoming partnership with IBM. Within the next few days, The VAR Guy hears, IBM and 3Com will announce that they’re ready to ship an integrated IP telephony server with email, messaging and other business software.
The VAR Guy usually doesn’t get distracted by features and functions. But 3Com and IBM are delivering a pretty nifty list of capabilities. The IP telephony system will offer Lotus Sametime integration with “click to call, click to conference’ features. Also, a software development kit will allow VARs to integrate telephony into existing business applications. And a Contact Center application will potentially improve customer service with features like “screen pops” that share valuable application data in an instant.
Nice eye candy. But again, there’s a much bigger story here. While many vendors claim to be partnering on unified communications, IBM and 3Com are delivering the goods.
The unified communications push is the latest indication that 3Com may be turning around its business. As The VAR Guy told you in December, 3Com was among the 50 worst performing stocks of the past 10 years. Ouch. Anybody else remember when Palm was the hot property within 3Com’s crumbling empire? Now, it may actually be 3Com that shows greater strength heading into 2008.
Still, The VAR Guy is getting ahead of himself. 3Com isn’t profitable yet. Big rivals like Cisco and Nortel may dominate the news in the weeks ahead. And that open source VoIP system, Asterisk, has reached its tipping point. But instead of ignoring such threats, 3Com appears ready to embrace them. In fact, The VAR Guy hears that 3Com plans to address the Asterisk market within the next few months.
In the meantime, 3Com can speed dial IBM for plenty of help in the unified communications market.