Archive for October 2012

In honor of today being Halloween I thought I would write a blog dedicated to the horror and grim nature that the day brings. Here are a few people and companies -past and present – that make the “all Halloween” list of technology names.

Born in the mid 90s, was a real pioneer in marrying job search with the Internet era. Monster has now become the de facto standard for job searching and has created almost unlimited job opportunities to people who would have had no way of finding jobs previously. I think back to the early 90s when I moved from Victoria, BC, to Baltimore MD, the only reason I knew about the job was because a friend of mine at UUNet managed to fax me the job postings from the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post. Oh, how changed the world. 

On Monday, October 29th (Hurricane Sandy day!), Riverbed announced its intention to purchase one of the APM market leaders, Opnet, for a shade under a billion dollars ($43/share), which represents about a 30% premium over OPNET’s current market cap. To finance the deal, Riverbed will use some debt being financed by Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. OPNET will do a shade under $200 million this year, which, when combined with Riverbed’s expected $834, will push Riverbed over the billion-dollar revenue mark for the first time in its history.

This should be a great acquisition for Riverbed as the Opnet products will nicely complement the products in the company’s Cascade business unit. Riverbed jumped into the network management market after it acquired Mazu Networks in 2009 and CACE Technologies in 2010. The two combined gave Riverbed both a macro-level view (Mazu) of the network with the ability to drill down with micro-level analysis (CACE). However, as strong as the product was, its sweet spot was mid-market and below.

Why would a worker modify the way they work if the current process is working fine? Maybe changing the process might make them more productive, but who knows?

This week Siemens Enterprise Communications unveiled a study they recently did that looks at the gaps in productivity between face-to-face collaboration and virtual collaboration. The results were pretty clear and gave some statistical validity to many of the thoughts that I have had around remote collaboration from anecdotal interviews I’ve done with IT leaders on this topic.

Some of the data points from the survey are:

Earlier this week Cisco and Citrix made some noise when they announced an expanded partnership. The partnership brings together the market leader in networking and data center infrastructure and combines it with the market leader in desktop virtualization. The expanded partnership should be a “win-win-win” for both organizations and their customers, as the two companies can bring their respective strengths together to deliver greater functionality through joint development. Some partnerships are nothing more than PowerPoint integration, but this one should have some teeth. As much as I like this partnership, I’m a firm believer that Cisco should pony up the cash, stocks or whatever else it needs and actually buy Citrix.

I’ve covered Cisco for many years and I’ve long felt that Citrix would be a great acquisition for the company. Cisco has stated through the years it didn’t want to be an application vendor (although UC manager and wants to deliver infrastructure). Citrix is infrastructure, it’s just application infrastructure. Given the current trends of cloud computing, BYOD and device evolution, Citrix would certainly command a hefty premium over its current $12 billion market cap, but I still think it would be worth it. My personal belief is that if an acquisition is a good acquisition, you can’t really pay too much. For example, if Cisco had paid 10x what it did for Selsius, would anyone really care now? After all, that technology purchase eventually made Cisco the market leader in VoIP. Conversely, if an acquisition is a bad one, then you can’t pay too little. There are many examples of this so I won’t make anyone look bad by mentioning one.

The breadth of Cisco’s portfolio has always been a significant differentiator; now they bring a tremendous amount of flexibility to customer choices as well.

Cisco’s annual Collaboration Summit was held in LA (home of the Stanley Cup Champions) this week. Typical of Cisco events, the company unveiled a smorgasbord of announcements. One could certainly debate Lync versus Cisco for presence or Polycom versus Cisco for video, but there’s no debating the fact that Cisco can deliver the broadest collaboration experience (voice, video, social, desktop, conferencing) in almost any way the customer wants to consume it, whether it’s cloud, virtual, premise-based or mobile.

The announcements I found worth noting were the following:

A congressional committee recently published the results of an 11-month investigation of the two highly controversial Chinese vendors ZTE and Huawei. The results of the probe have been widely disseminated in the media, including a front-page story in the Wall St Journal and a 15-minute piece on 60 minutes.

Congress alleges that both ZTE and Huawei pose a risk to U.S. national security because the network equipment could have secret back doors that allow China to spy on the U.S. In the report, the committee recommends that the U.S. block any merger and acquisition activity involving Huawei and ZTE and recommends that U.S. companies avoid using telecommunications equipment from the two Chinese vendors.

On Monday October 8, Polycom held a technology day in New York. At that event Polycom outlined its vision, strategy for the near future, and a bevvy of new products to support its new approach. Polycom’s vision of ubiquitous video collaboration is similar to that of most other video vendors, but its approach is much different.

Talking about ubiquitous video is certainly much simpler than delivering on it, as it requires cooperation from the rest of the industry. Once every vendor is on the same page, video will go through that “rising tide” that we’ve all being waiting for. While I still don’t think the industry is there yet, I believe what Polycom announced puts them in a position to capitalize on that rising tide, whenever it occurs.

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