Enterasys Partner Conference: Answering the Big Questions
Enterasys is hosting its 2013 North America Partner Conference this week in Ft. Myers, Fla., with seemingly one thing on its collective mind: its impending acquisition by Extreme Networks.
Enterasys is hosting its 2013 North America Partner Conference this week in Ft. Myers, Fla., with seemingly one thing on its collective mind: its impending acquisition by Extreme Networks. Which is a good thing, because it’s also top of mind for its partners.
One could say the timing of the conference could not have been better. Although both companies are officially in a quiet period before the acquisition closes—Enterasys officials say it will be “very soon”—attendees at the event got some much-needed answers about the new combined entity. Indeed, even Extreme’s channel chief Theresa Caragol is in attendance at the event, although she didn’t have any stage time due to the previously mentioned quiet period.
So, without further ado, here are answers to some of the larger questions surrounding the acquisition:
What will the new company be called? Extreme Networks, since Extreme is officially acquiring Enterasys. Which is kind of a shame—no offense meant to Extreme—since Enterasys has spent the last few years working hard to raise its profile and name recognition. Also, current president Chris Crowell and other executives emphasized heavily that even though Extreme is buying Enterasys, both companies look at the deal as more of a merger than an acquisition.
Why did Extreme buy Enterasys and not the other way around? When Enterasys was taken private in 2006, the idea was it would get its house in order and eventually go public again. Enterasys had to fix two things, Crowell said: prepare for the explosion in the mobile world—which it did through its 2010 purchase of Chancery—and scale, which the acquisition achieves. Plus, noted Enterasys CMO Vala Afshar, Extreme is a public company with brand equity. “This is an opportunity for us to revitalize and energize the Extreme brand moving forward,” he said.
Where does this leave Enterasys’ channel partners? Exactly where they are now, said Charlie Van Pelt, director of North American Channels at Enterasys, but with the opportunity to move into new areas of growth thanks to Extreme’s synergistic technology set. “There are a lot of growth opportunities in markets we’ve already served, also,” he said. “The technology is complementary now—customers don’t have to choose between the two.”
What happens to the existing technologies? One of the major points emphasized at the conference is the deal won’t leave either company’s technology set decimated. “The general concern is that an acquired company will get steamrolled,” Crowell said. “That is not what was behind this. We are a merger of equals.” As such, the technologies of both companies will live through their entire product lifecycles, including support. The next generation of technologies will be amalgamations of the “best of the best” of both companies, and even now the companies are working on ways to incorporate some of each company’s “value propositions” onto certain technologies, such as adding OneFabric SDN to Extreme’s networking technologies, for example.
What’s clear from the tenor of the conversations among partners and executives alike is Enterasys is doing a good job so far making sure its channel partners are comfortable with the deal. For the most part, attendees are viewing the acquisition as an opportunity for growth.
“I’m excited about the merger—it’s an opportunity to get more visibility,” said Mike Seitz, vice president of iK Electric, a solution provider based in Little Rock, Ark. “I’m excited about the growth potential and the markets Extreme brings to the table.”