HP-3Com: What’s Wrong (And Right) With This Deal
As he sat at the Cisco Partner Velocity conference in Paris, The VAR Guy pondered news of Hewlett-Packard buying 3Com for $2.7 billion. Does the HP-3Com combo make any sense? And will Cisco Systems return fire by working more closely with Lenovo? Here are some answers.
First, let’s start with some glaring challenges facing the HP-3Com combo. Alas, 3Com doesn’t have much of a channel story. Many VARs abandoned 3Com’s networking business as 3Com itself abandoned its channel chief in March 2008.
Some pundits say the HP-3Com combo creates a networking giant. But let’s keep the spin under control. It takes Cisco Systems about two weeks to match 3Com’s annual revenues ($1.3 billion).
Still, HP’s ProCurve networking team gets some key technology and international reach from the 3Com buyout. For starters, 3Com has a range of IP telephony, routers, switches, network management, security and wireless offerings. But perhaps more importantly, 3Com’s H3C business unit has a strong presence in China.
As Yankee Group told The New York Times in May 2008:
“H3C is their growth path, not traditional 3Com stuff in the U.S.,” said Zeus Kerravala, network equipment analyst at Yankee Group in Boston. “Their brand has really been tarnished here.”
Calling In Reinforcements?
Now, for the ultimate irony: Lenovo, China’s largest PC maker, is quietly negotiating a potential networking and PC partnership with Cisco Systems. Did Cisco call Lenovo or did Lenovo call Cisco? The answer doesn’t matter. The potential partners have a mutual enemy here in Hewlett-Packard.
Ultimately, Cisco (with a potential assist from Lenovo) and HP-3Com will be locked in a battle to dominate China. That’s the real story here.