Feature Article

November 18, 2015

Cisco and Ericsson: Love, Actually!

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” I get to hear that way too often these days, as countries compete on being the hero. These days, corporations can do better than politicians. While the coalition of the willing and other political footballs have changed the landscape of populations, Cisco and Ericsson are trying to stem the tide of competition, specifically Huawei.

Huawei, while persona non grata in the U.S., is doing very well in the rest of the world particularly in Latin America, where often you could find telecom executives that spoke Swedish and Spanish to each other (such was the relationship with Ericsson).

And Nokia’s acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent indicates we are not done with industry consolidation.

Ericsson and Cisco’s choice to become allies rather than merge probably shows that both companies have cultural misgivings about an actual merger. Let’s look at history.

Cisco in the late 90’s used acquisitions like headhunters to acquire talent and redistribute work. Sometimes products survived, sometimes they did not, but it didn’t matter because talent was scarce and the money was well spent.

However, as growth became more elusive and commoditization a real problem, products that were meant to survive were sold off; like Linksys to Belkin.

The Internet Core was returned to as the focus and while Cisco played in the wireless space, it was not hitting them out of the park, not by a long shot.

Meanwhile over at Ericsson around the same time was a more timid feeding frenzy that included ‘Junior Varsity’ relationships with HP, LG and several others. Often these JV’s looked like neglected pets that were adopted for a specific purpose but were not areas for growth.

As a former buyer from merged companies, I often had to tell the two soon-to-be-merged sales teams that I was happy to listen, but if they expected me to purchase they would have to wait two years for a purchase order (because I was sure the product lines would take 18 months to align.)

The real question that did not get answered was if the alliance was going to develop an NFV and SDN solution that hit the right spot in the Evolved Packet Core. In theory between the two of them, they should be able to deliver to that market in a timely manner.

And it may be that as separate (but equal?) partners they find a product mix that blends without the problems of office politics.

This may not be love, but actually it may work.





comments powered by Disqus

FOLLOW MobilityTechzone

Subscribe to MobilityTechzone eNews

MobilityTechzone eNews delivers the latest news impacting technology in the Wireless industry each week. Sign up to receive FREE breaking news today!
FREE eNewsletter