Nortel vs. Cisco: Rematch Scheduled for May
The VAR Guy truly enjoyed watching Cisco and Nortel trade blows at last week’s VoiceCon in Orlando. During the conference, the two networking giants used partners and the media in a bid to one-up each other in the unified communications market. But VoiceCon was just Round One.
Cisco and Nortel will surely trade some fresh blows at Interop (May 20-25 in Las Vegas). The CEOs from both companies are scheduled to deliver keynotes at the conference.
So far, The VAR Guy has Cisco ahead on points but Nortel has landed several surprising solid jabs. Sure, Cisco is the leading provider of VoIP phones. And there’s no doubting Cisco’s deadly combo of profits and channel partners.
Still, Nortel has made some compelling moves of its own. Although Cisco is now working with Microsoft and IBM on some unified communications projects, it’s pretty safe to say that Nortel continues to have the closer relationships with both Microsoft and IBM.
And, The VAR Guy has to admit: He’s beginning to think Nortel has finally stabilized its business. The Wall Street Journal earlier this year hinted that a Nortel turnaround was under way. Now comes a similar report from the folks over at CRN. (Please don’t refer to CRN as the old Computer Reseller News; they hate that over there.)
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Nortel has teased us all with turnaround talk since around 2003, but each time the company stumbled badly with another earnings restatement.
The VAR Guy will get a better read on Nortel’s apparent recovery and competitive stance vs. Cisco during Interop in May.